Health and Safety Executive looks into complaint against Northamptonshire academy trust

Unison and the GMB made a formal complaint earlier this week

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th June 2020, 4:32 pm
The complaint against DRET is being assessed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is looking into a complaint made by two unions about Covid-19 safety measures put in place by a Northamptonshire academy trust.

Earlier this week Unison and the GMB filed a formal complaint against the David Ross Education Trust to the HSE insisting the school chain was putting pupils and staff at risk by not sufficiently consulting with staff over the wider schools re-opening at the start of this week.

The unions, which represent a number of support staff across the DRET schools, say despite asking for information about the risk assessments undertaken in the schools and by their contractors and how the trust would report any Covid-19 cases, they had not received adequate responses.

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Now the HSE has made a public statement about the union complaint and said: “HSE has received the notification from Unison and GMB which is being assessed in line with our procedures.

“We are very much seeking to support a safe return to work across all industries and assist school employers to implement effective practical measures to ensure compliance with public health and health and safety at work requirements.

“Where an employer is following the relevant PHE and wider Government guidance for their sector in terms of controlling the public health risks, they will be taking reasonably practicable precautions to control workplace risks.”

After the workers unions put in the complaint DRET responded by saying: “The safety of our children and our staff always has been, and always will be, our top priority. We are confident that the risk assessments we carried out for each of our schools are robust and rigorous, and our primaries that re-opened yesterday all did so without any issues, having followed all Government guidance.

“We have worked hard to share all information with the unions throughout this process, including details of our approach to re-opening, and will continue to seek to engage with them.”

DRET’s schools across Northamptonshire are Welton Church of England Academy, Newnham Primary School, Falconer’s Hill Academy, Abbey CE Academy, Cedar Road Primary School, Eastfield Academy, Briar Hill Primary School, The Arbours Primary Academy, Kings Heath Primary Academy, Malcom Arnold Preparatory School, Rockingham Primary School and Greenfields Primary School and Nursery.

Despite schools being asked to open to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 for June 1, a number have decided not to and many parents across the country have kept their children off and continued homeschooling.