Re-Starting Well - Back to School

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Article

23 September, 2020

Forbes Solicitors Education specialists hosted an online discussion and were joined by panellists Chris Malings from Malings Change Associates, Paul Atkinson - Director of Finance and Business, Vicki Hayward - SBM and Noel Conreen - Business and Finance Manager.

It is more important now than ever with the constantly changing landscape that we share knowledge and best practice to navigate our way through guidance and find practical solutions. The panellists shared their experiences with the attendees to give an insight to how they are dealing with the different elements. Some key points of the discussion are shared below:

Communication

  • Regular contact was important and remains so
  • Ensuring not overwhelming with communications - too many frequent updates and changes; being selective about what to communicate and when
  • Sharing risk assessments
  • Sharing information about what was happening "behind the scenes" i.e. regular updates from the cleaning team for reassurance of changes to routines and visibility of measures implemented
  • Increased utilisation of electronic communication Teams/Zoom even via classes on the premises
  • Reporting to different people - pupils/staff/parents/local authorities
  • Keeping up with the message - not becoming complacent because have been at school and stayed well (retaining bubbles and social distancing)

Well being and mental health

  • Too many changes creating anxiety - controlling the amount of communications around change
  • Inviting questions/sharing concerns - open door policy and presence of SLT to provide reassurance and support
  • Keeping in touch with staff who were working remotely and ensuring that continues if staff working remotely
  • One to one discussions - considering issues/concerns on individual basis as some staff more anxious than others
  • Enabling staff to share experiences and concerns and looking at resilience as teams
  • Implementing counselling support for one to one support and team talks plus monthly drop in sessions to have professional/expert support
  • Ensuring that SLT have a route to support - not forgetting themselves and putting unrealistic expectations on themselves


Sickness Absence

  • Absence very low during lockdown almost zero
  • Consideration of whether lockdown has "masked" absence or meant staff could work where they might not have done
  • Managing absence is going to be key going forward - suspect absences will rise in winter; more absence due to concerns around illness which mirror Covid 19 symptoms and mental health and anxiety/stress absence is expected to increase

If you would be interested in joining a similar discussion to explore continuing and new challenges in the education world please contact Rachael.pickervance@forbessolicitors.co.uk and we will look at hosting another session.

For more information contact Ruth Rule-Mullen in our Education department via email or phone on 01772 220195. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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