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TEFL Workers’ Union surveys UK teachers

Data from a London-based TEFL Workers’ Union survey of UK staff experiences of language schools’ responses to coronavirus has been shown to the Gazette pre-publication. Although the sample is too small and selective to be representative, the responses reveal egregious behaviour on the part of some schools.

There were 51 respondents, nearly all of them teachers. Just under a fifth had been made redundant or sacked. A quarter had needed to take time off due to Covid-19 – including for self- isolation – but only six per cent of these had received sick pay, even though, during the pandemic, the UK government reimburses employers for any sick pay, even if the worker is part-time, employed by an agency or on a zero hours contract.

Just over half of respondents felt their school had been poor in communicating over Covid-19 developments. Teachers reported being laid off with a week’s notice or being made redundant and then having their notice withdrawn and being furloughed. Others had received no word at all from management since the pandemic began.

One said, “just no students, so no work for me,” another was asked to sign a document saying they had decided to leave. One who was “self-employed” was told “they had no hours for me”. It is virtually impossible for a teacher working at a school to be legally “self-employed” under both UK and Irish Law.

The survey is to be published on the TEFL Workers Union Facebook page.

Image courtesy of TEFL WORKERS’ UNION
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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