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COVID advice & guidance for the new term

The NASUWT is continuing to monitor the rapidly changing situation regarding advice from all UK governments and administrations in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Members are strongly advised to check the NASUWT website, the online Coronavirus hub as well as the NASUWT Facebook and Twitter accounts for further updates, news and advice on the situation regarding the reopening of schools and colleges in January.

Local comment: The lack of advance notice is causing significant anxieties and worries to manifest. If you have issues then please raise these with the NASUWT - contact details at the bottom of this page.

Hi folks.

Seeing as many members are seeking advice about schools opening this coming week and seeing as there has been much information and confusion being shared about Section 44 of the ERA, I thought I’d try and provide a bit of clarity about what this means in practice.

1. NASUWT cannot advise members nationally to use Section 44 of the Employment Rights Act.

2. As an individual, you can refuse to attend your workplace if you feel that there is a "serious and imminent" danger to your health and safety. The understanding is that your employer cannot then dismiss you.

However, there are several things that an individual would need to consider if they were to implement this option….

3. If an employer dismisses you for exercising your rights under S44, it would be an unfair dismissal BUT this does not mean that your employer cannot dismiss you.

4. Employers can dismiss you and your only way of getting any recourse would be through an Employment Tribunal.

5. You would have to bring a case against your (former) employer, proving that you have met all the conditions enshrined within the Section 44 legislation of the ERA.

6. Accessing an ET may take a significant period of time, all while you are out of work and your most recent reference would no doubt state that you breached your contract

7. Getting any support from the NASUWT is unlikely if you acted without their advice.

8. Getting any support from NASUWT if you acted with their advice is dependent upon them judging your case on its chances of success. There is a reason that the former GS Chris Keates could say that NASUWT always won in court; that is because the NASUWT is selective about what legal cases it takes forward.

9. Even if you get to attend an ET, there is no guarantee you will win.

As so many people have been talking about Section 44 as some kind of panacea, it must be reiterated that this only applies to individuals, not collectives. This makes this something that you would have to do by yourself.

The anti-Trade Union legislation and huge fines that Trade Unions can receive for sanctioning illegal action by their members means that they will always err on the side of caution.

If you think your school is not able to evidence all the things that the NASUWT have suggested they need to be able to evidence to demonstrate that your school is as Covid safe as it can be, then please contact your Local Secretary, National Executive Member or Regional Centre.


Tel: 0121 232 9400

D13 - Debbie.Hayton@exec.nasuwt.org.uk, D13 - Paul.Nesbitt@exec.nasuwt.org.uk - covering Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton

D14 - Harold.Gurden@exec.nasuwt.org.uk - covering Staffordshire and Stoke

D15 - Caroline.Clode@exec.nasuwt.org.uk - covering Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

By all means don’t act alone and in haste.

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Go to http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/ and click on My NASUWT.

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Need help?
Contact Member Support
West Midlands Regional Centre

Ludgate Court,
57 Water Street
B3 1EP

Tel: 0121 232 9400


Regional Organiser: Ben Cochrane


03330 145 550

NASUWT Headquarters
Rose Hill,
B45 8RS
Tel: 0121 453 6150


General Secretary: Dr Patrick Roach


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Contact: seantaylorNASUWT@outlook.com

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