Covid-related death of college lecturer investigated

college lecturer


The death of a college lecturer who died after contracting Covid-19 is being investigated by the government’s agency that polices workplace safety.

Donna Coleman, who worked with vulnerable students at Burnley College according to the University and College Union of which she was a member, passed away last month aged 42.

In a press release to the media today, the UCU said it was “investigating the circumstances that led to Donna’s death, including whether she contracted Covid through her work at Burnley College”. The union claims that prior to Coleman’s death they had “rejected the college’s risk assessments because of their poor Covid controls”.

The union says it also raised its health and safety concerns with the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and has lodged a formal complaint with the agency since Coleman’s death.

HSE told FE Week that it has been “working with the college regarding Covid measures on campus and safety with regard to events such as open evenings” and will now be “liaising further with the college in relation to this fatality and will make further enquiries”.

Burnley College has not responded to requests for comment.

The UCU confirmed this was the first time it has publicly raised concerns about a college staff member’s death.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, 10 “further education teaching professionals” have died from Covid-19 to date.

 

Donna’s death is an appalling tragedy

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “We are all angry and devastated about the loss of Donna. Her passing will be deeply felt by her family, her students and her wider community.

“Too many workers, including those in post-16 education, have lost their lives to Covid. These deaths are not inevitable. UCU will continue to fight to keep our members safe, and for employers and the government to protect their health and safety.”

College lecturer
Jo Grady

UCU regional official Martyn Moss added: “Donna’s death is an appalling tragedy and we are supporting her family at this difficult time.

“UCU is investigating the circumstances that led to Donna’s death, including whether she contracted Covid through her work at Burnley College.

“Unfortunately, the college is refusing to disclose whether it knows if it has had any Covid outbreaks. Prior to Donna’s death we had rejected the college’s risk assessments because of their poor Covid controls.

“We have also raised our health and safety concerns with the college and with the Health and Safety Executive, the government body that polices workplace safety.”



More from this theme

Covid-19

Just £9m of adult education and non-levy apprenticeship relief funding released

Training providers were handed less than £9 million as part of a relief scheme to support adult education courses...

Billy Camden
Covid-19

Williamson provided wine and mince pies for DfE lockdown Xmas party

Sue Gray report finds 50 staff were invited to the 'festive drinks' - organised days in advance

Samantha Booth
Covid-19

Stressed and nervous but determined to prove themselves: the students sitting exams for the first time 

John Dickens, editor of FE Week’s sister publication Schools Week, joined Ofqual chief regulator Dr Jo Saxton as her...

John Dickens
Covid-19

Ofqual reveals how exams and assessments in 2023 will look

Covid-19 related adaptions for VTQs will be scrapped

Billy Camden
Covid-19

Ofsted: Eight key points from latest education recovery research

Providers told Ofsted that apprentices were not being given enough tasks due to pressures on businesses. 

Will Nott

Covid-19

DfE widens student eligibility criteria for 16-19 catch-up funding

But leaders warn the extension has been introduced too late and predict 'many' fundng clawbacks

Billy Camden

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

One comment

  1. The death of any human being through Covid is a tragedy, and we are all aware of how and when this virus can be transmitted, which is why I find the comments of the union to be distasteful. The extract reads…..
    “rejected the college’s risk assessments because of their poor Covid controls”.
    The union has no facts that prove that Ms Coleman contracted the virus in her workplace, but that does not seem to prevent them from scaremongering and acting after the event. The next stage will be, I presume, to have the union appointed lawyers circle the college looking for blame.