FE Voices

Joanne Mosele, Senior Associate Solicitor, Irwin Mitchell

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Coronavirus: Your questions answered

1. What restrictions have the government put in place for people who have travelled to/from an ‘at risk’ country?

Current guidance recommends that if the country (or province) falls into Category 1, travellers should self-isolate, even if they don’t have any symptoms, and call NHS 111 to inform them of their recent travel.

If the country or province falls into Category 2, travellers don’t need to undertake any special measures, but if they develop symptoms they should self-isolate and call NHS 111.

We recommend you regularly review the Category 1 and 2 lists.

2. What should we do if we suspect a member of staff or student has coronavirus?

If you believe they have been in contact with someone with the virus, or they have recently returned from one of the ‘at risk’ countries mentioned above, they should follow government advice. Otherwise you can deal with their illness normally.

3. Can we insist that a member of staff or student suspected of having coronavirus should self-quarantine for 14 days?

If the country is one of those included in Category 1 you can insist they self-isolate for the recommended period.

If staff or students exhibit the symptoms of the virus, you should ask them to go home and ring NHS 111 to obtain further advice.

If the individual is tested for the virus and the result is negative, they will be advised about returning to college. You can request to see a copy of this advice before they return.

If the test is positive, you will be contacted by your local Public Health England Health Protection Team to advise on actions you need to take.

4. Do we have to pay anyone who is absent because they are self-isolating or are suspected of having the virus?

If they are sick then you should apply your usual sick pay policy. However, if they aren’t ill, but they decide to follow government/health advice and self-isolate, you may not have to pay them unless they have a contractual right to payment. Health secretary Matt Hancock has said self-isolating staff should get sick pay. However, this does not change the law.

However, if you exclude someone from work ‘just in case’ they have the virus you will have to pay them in most circumstances.

We recommend you take advice regarding payment arrangements.

ACAS has recently published helpful guidance on this point.

5. Can we ask members of staff to provide cover for those who are ill or in quarantine?

Yes, provided your staff agree or you can rely on a contractual term in their contracts of employment and any extra hours do not contravene the Working Time Directive.

6. Do we need to take special measures to protect staff who are most at risk if they are exposed to coronavirus?

Current advice is that coronavirus causes more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. You may need to put in place measures to protect those who are most at risk, such as allowing staff to work from home.

You must conduct a risk assessment if working conditions could involve risk to new or expectant mothers or their babies. You are expected to take steps to reduce any identified risk. Ultimately, if there is no way of alleviating the risk (such as assigning them to a different role) you may have to suspend on full pay.

7. Do we have to shut our college if an employee or pupil is diagnosed with coronavirus?

Not unless you have been advised to by your local Public Health England Health Protection Team.

Joanne Mosele, Senior Associate Solicitor, Irwin Mitchell

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

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The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

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