Kirsty Williams, Education Minister

Joint statement from Welsh Government, WLGA and support staff trade unions

On the 3rd June, the Minister for Education confirmed the Welsh Government’s proposal for schools to reopen to all pupils on 29th June to ‘check in, catch up and prepare’ ahead of the summer break.

​Following this, reassurances were sought by those trade unions ​who represent support staff, ​including teaching assistants.  Discussions have been ongoing over the past few weeks to provide those reassurances.

The conversations have focused upon three main areas:

  1. risk assessments; ​
  2. the increase demand for cleaning staff​;
  3. the antibody testing and Test, Trace, Protect.

​In relation to risk assessments, the Welsh Government and Welsh Local Government Association are pleased to be able to provide the following reassurance to the trade unions:

Scrutinising School Risk Assessments

The Welsh Government guidance states:

“Employers have a duty to consult their workforce regarding on health and safety matters and should involve them in the assessment and development of relevant control measures. Employers must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by staff”.

Head teachers and school governors are responsible for ensuring that there is a risk assessment which informs the actions necessary to maintain safety in the school. They have a duty to consult the health and safety representative in assessing and developing the relevant control measures. The health and safety representative, normally selected by a recognised trade union, is responsible for scrutinising the risk assessment to ensure that it meets the needs of staff.

The health and wellbeing of our learners and our education workforce is at the forefront of any planned increase in operation for our schools.   With this clearly in mind, work is already underway to adapt the All Wales Covid-19 Workforce Assessment tool specifically for education staff thought to be vulnerable or at risk.  This will be shaped and informed by a working group which will include representatives from schools known to support BAME communities.  It is also being supported by Ministers with a direct offer to meet with the working group to ensure this work is progressed as quickly as possible.

We have also been able to agree a process whereby concerns can be escalated to Ministerial level ​regarding the content ​and implementation of risk assessments ​if they are unable to be resolved either in a school setting or at a local authority level.

It has been possible for the Welsh Government to confirm that where schools have unmanageable costs due to necessary increased expenditure on school cleaning they should notify their local authority as these would be an eligible cost through the Welsh Government Local Government Hardship Fund.

The Welsh Government has produced a full explanation of Test, Trace, Protect, antibody and antigen testing specifically designed for all school-based staff.  This has been provided to the local authorities and to trade unions for them to circulate to all staff in school settings.  This recognises ​the need for clear information about the Test, Track and Protect programme.  It aims to provide confidence for all staff that appropriate testing and processes are in place to respond quickly to cases in schools and stop the virus spreading. The programme of antibody monitoring ​is in place to allow us to track the prevalence of coronavirus in schools and education environments​ and will be expanded as we move through into next term.

The Welsh Government, WLGA and trade unions will ​gather vital information from the return to school planned from 29th June to ​help to inform the provision of education for all children from September.  We all share the aim of ensuring a ​safe and successful future for our young people and this is dependent upon reducing significantly the amount of disruption that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused over the past three months.

Kirsty Williams, Education Minister, said:

“I am pleased we’ve been able to make this joint statement today. By working together, Wales is the only country in the UK where all pupils will have the opportunity to return to school before the summer break.”

Rosie Lewis, UNISON schools lead, said:

"UNISON is pleased that our concerns have been listened to and issues around the risk assessment, increased demand for cleaning staff, and test, trace, protect have progressed.

"School support staff are a vitally important part of the schools workforce and it is essential their welfare is prioritised alongside teachers and pupils.

"The announcement today gives some additional clarity and, where we experience difficulties, there is now a coherent process to raise any local matters and have them addressed or escalated to a Welsh Government Minister if necessary."

Councillors Philippa Marsden and Ian Roberts, of the WLGA, said:

“We welcome the constructive conversations that have taken place over the past week and looks forward to continuing to work closely with the trade unions as we are to deliver more education in classrooms for children across Wales.”

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Neil Richardson commented on Let’s stop being so quick to axe funding when colleges falter 13 hours 56 minutes ago

Since the call here seems to include Mind the Quality,
in which ways should quality be defined and...

Abertay has published a new article: How do I qualify as a First Aid Trainer? yesterday
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

The latest podcasts from FE News for 10/16/2021 -
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

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.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

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 Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 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, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

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.

FE Voices

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.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

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.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


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.

FE Newsrooms

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.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page