Just 1% of teachers say pupils are always practicing social distancing from adults in their school, with over half (56%) saying pupils are rarely or never doing so, a survey by the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union has found.
The survey of nearly 7,000 teachers in England found low levels of compliance with many of the Covid secure measures schools are expected to have in place to help protect pupils and staff.
Just 4% said adults in their school are always practicing social distancing, with only 15% saying managers are always modelling and reinforcing social distancing measures and only 30% said parents were respecting social distancing rules when picking up and dropping off their children.
Overcrowded classrooms were the main barrier cited to social distancing for pupils and adults.
More than six in ten (61%) say pupils and adults are not routinely wearing masks in communal areas of the school.
Only 56% were able to confirm their school has clear and adequate arrangements in place for enhanced cleaning of the school premises and 45% said cleaning arrangements in their school rely on staff not employed as cleaners. 7% of teachers said they were expected to clean toilets themselves.
Significant numbers of teachers reported inadequate supplies of PPE and a failure to ensure classrooms are sufficiently ventilated to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
Nearly a third (32%) of teachers said groups of pupils had been sent home from their school since the start of the new academic year because of positive or suspected cases of Covid within the school.
69% had pupils in their school who have displayed Covid symptoms and half knew of staff who had symptoms.
Four in five said they were concerned about getting access to Covid tests, if needed.
NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:
“At a time when the Government has raised the Covid threat level and introduced stricter curbs designed to limit social interactions it is worrying that many schools do not appear to be implementing Covid secure working practices or reviewing their risk assessments in light of the increased threat levels.
“The failure of Government to provide schools with additional funding is leading to schools cutting corners on safety.
“As increased numbers of staff are forced to self-isolate, serious operational difficulties are emerging for schools in maintaining safe working practices.
“The Government promised teachers, pupils and parents schools would be safe to return to. So far, they are failing on that promise.”