National Union of teachers
On-line Health and Safety Forum
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There have been 143 separate topics discussed so far. A recent discussion focused on how to support a member who was suffering from work-related stress and anxiety and several members of the group responded, setting out concrete suggestions about reasonable adjustments that could be put in place to assist the member, as well as ways to address the issue on a collective basis. In another example a teacher had been accused by a parent of pushing a child, an accusation found to be false following an investigation. Members of the group offered advice on the legal position and on how to support the teacher and resolve the matter.

The on-line group also allows for communication about key campaigns, in particular the NUT’s campaign to promote better management of asbestos and, in the long term, removal of asbestos from UK schools. More than 85 per cent of schools contain asbestos and there is overwhelming evidence that it is not being well-managed, leading to staff and, more importantly, children being exposed and put at risk of developing mesothelioma, an incurable cancer. The NUT campaigns with the other teaching and support staff unions through the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (www.juac.org.uk) to raise awareness of the issue and pressure government and employers to do more to protect staff and children. The on-line group allows the sharing of information about conferences and other events, news articles and, most recently, a new NUT poster highlighting the dangers of asbestos in schools https://www.teachers.org.uk/help-and-advice/health-and-safety/a/asbestos-poster.

Feedback on the group has been positive. What is particularly notable is that no question has every gone unanswered, demonstrating how willing the participants are to help each other.
The group is facilitated by NUT staff members but ‘owned’ by its members and the only role of staff is to add and remove members from the group, and participate in discussions where appropriate.

Anyone with an interest in health and safety in schools is welcome to join the group, just email Sarah Lyons at s.lyons@nut.org.uk in order to subscribe.
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