Welcome to this edition of the Wednesday Whistle on a day where many of you will have opened the first window on your Advent calendar: a clear signal that the festive season is nearly upon us. Indeed, because of us taking our Jubilee Day on Friday 17th December, only 11 teaching days remain until the end of term.
Whilst 11 days sounds very straightforward, I know from talking with many of you, that this is far from the reality you face. In addition to the usual workload pressures at this time of year, our schools are facing huge staffing pressures due to a combination of the pandemic and the traditional circulation of coughs and colds at this time of year.
I wish, though, to remain upbeat and not just because the end of term is in sight. We have collectively risen to the challenges that have presented through the term, kept our schools open through adversity, and ensured the children in our care – 14,000 of them - have benefited from 69 teaching days.
Many colleagues will have seen the recent email from Devon County Council and the recommendations of Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon. Our part of the SW region continues to experience high rates of COVID infection and this is certainly reflected in the declining attendance of both staff and children in our schools. In having come so far in preserving our core business, keeping children safe and curriculum delivery, it now seems right to do all we can to keep our children in school and take sensible steps to prevent the further spread of the virus. It is with this in mind that we have determined to keep to ‘core business’, see the reintroduction of face coverings in line with government guidelines, and avoid taking unnecessary risks outside of our normal lessons.
Thank you for all that you are doing to support our collective effort.
Rob Haring, CEO
Savings for Education Staff!
All WeST colleagues are eligible to sign up for FREE to the Discounts For Teachers service online to get access to hundreds of exclusive discounts with online retailers. They have a number of exclusive offers running in recognition of the current circumstances and to reward key workers. Please share with all colleagues to access this fantastic opportunity.
WeST continues to work with the Able Futures service on support for staff in the workplace. The provider offers a number of services and has launched a new webinar session in preparation for the festive period which we are pleased to share with you:
This time of year may bring much to look forward to, though for some it can be a very difficult time. Able Futures would like to provide some advice on ways to feel better leading up to and during the festive period.
This session will talk through different issues that may affect our wellbeing during the festive season and mean we find it harder to cope. The session will explore what support can be provided and is completely confidential (there is no camera or microphone function for attendees, WeST will not know details of any participants).
Session: 6th December at 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (recoding can be provided)
Registration: to register to participate live or receive a recording of the session to view at your convenience please visit click here.
Get Into Teaching information session (online)
This event will take place between 6:00pm and 7:00pm on 07/12/2021
Are you committed and enthusiastic about working with young people and sharing your passion for learning? Are you thinking about training to become a teacher? Are you looking for something close to home?
YES? Then we have the course for you!
Drop in to our information session and find out about the different routes into teaching, what qualifications you need, how to finance your teacher training and the application process.
Our information sessions provide the perfect opportunity to meet staff and ask any questions you may have with regard to course content, student finance and UCAS applications and to discuss with ITT staff about what it means to be teaching with The Learning Institute South West.
There is an opportunity for a fully subsidised, WeST cross phase NPQ cohort in partnership with LSSW and Teach First.
The programme will commence in Febuary 2022, running across 12 months. The WeST cohort depends on take up, otherwise delegates will be added to mixed groups. You may have already received communication, directly from LSSW.
There are times when we all need some extra support to balance the demands of everyday life. Care first are an independent, leading provider of professional employee support services. Including: practical and emotional issues such as wellbeing, family matters, relationships, debt management, workplace issues, and more.
How can I access this?
This service is free of charge for WeST employees to access, you don’t need to inform your line manager (unless you wish to) and its completely confidential with no personal information shared back to the Trust. Just quote that you are an employee of ‘Westcountry Schools Trust’.
You can call 0800 174 319 to speak to a professional counsellor or information specialist in confidence 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
You can visit the Care first lifestyle website which offers additional resources and online services at:
Dear all, this is a polite reminder of the December Pay Dates across the Trust. Please find these for each payroll provider below:
As an employer, WeST continues to operate both the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) and Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). The details of these schemes require us as an employer to annually prepare a pensions discretion policy about how we operate within the scheme terms. We are continuing to seek feedback on a new document for this academic year. Please be assured there is no change to the operation of these pension schemes proposed.
The proposed policy is attached for your information and we would welcome any feedback between now and 8th December 2021. Please submit any feedback to HR@westst.org.uk. While the terms of the policy are limited by the schemes, it’s important that this is a user friendly policy so we’d welcome any input.
Final Vouchers - WeST Winter Flu Jabs
Have you requested your voucher and booked your jab?
The Trust are proud to confirm we have partnered with Boots pharmacy to deliver a limited number of flu vaccinations to staff who do not already meet the NHS free vaccine eligibility. We encourage all staff to take up the offer of a flu jab via one of these pathways. We still have a VERY LIMITED number of vouchers remaining!
You are eligible if:
· Aged 50 or over
· Have certain health conditions.
· You are pregnant
· You live with someone who is at high risk of coronavirus
· You receive a carer's allowance for an older or disabled person who is at risk.
· Have a weakened immune system due HIV, AIDS, Steroid Treatments or Chemotherapy
· Being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
· Neurological conditions, such as MS, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinsons.
We all know the popular phrase which goes along the lines of ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. But have you ever though about planning when it comes to your wellbeing and keeping well?
Materials from Mind suggest that having a wellness action plan can help to identify what your triggers and strategies may be for maintaining your whole wellbeing, in a physical and mental health sense. This gives more focus on a proactive and prevention approach.
It is different for everyone, but many like to prepare a personal plan on their own, they may then choose to liaise with their line manager / leadership team to explore what support at work may be useful. Others have been thinking about wellness as a whole team and sharing action plans for what strategies work for them as a collective team.
We are delighted to inform you of the following exciting career opportunities within our Trust:-
Westcountry Schools Trust is looking for the following vacancies:
Clerk at Multiple Locations (South Dartmoor Community College & the Atrium, Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Primaries) We are seeking to recruit either 2x Clerk to the Governing Bodies for 3x locations or 1x Clerk to the Governing Bodies covering all 3x locations. The Trust is ideally looking for individual(s) with previous clerking or reasonable experience. For more information on this role, please go here.Closing date: 9am, Monday 6 December 2021.
Academic Professional Initial Teacher Education - Secondary Music Subject Lead - Part time fixed-term posts (various hours, 12 months) The main purpose of this role is to contribute to and lead in the provision of high-quality Secondary Music teacher training by way of tuition, mentoring and assessment of trainee progress in practice and reflection. As such a successful applicant would deliver a defined range of teaching activities and undertake pedagogic research to support teaching and learning development. The role may combine elements of teaching, scholarship, engagement working and administration. For more information, please go here. Closing date: 9.00am on 13th December, 2021.
Two HR Professionals to join the Core Services Teamas a HR Officer (permanent) & HR Advisor (3-6 months interim). Working in a fast-paced environment as part of the core HR Team, the post holders will provide advice and support on a broad range of employee relations matters, helping to ensure timely progression of queries and cases in line with Trust policies, employment legislation and best practice guidance. Stakeholder management is key and there will be a high level of interaction with customers at all levels in the provision of advice and guidance. For more information, please go here. Closing date: 9am Monday 13th December.
Plymstock school are looking for the following vacancies:
Sports Centre Leisure Assistant - Required from January 2022. Saturday Leisure Assistant at Plymstock School Sports Centre (opportunities for additional shifts available) Plymstock have an exciting opportunity for a new member of staff to join their team as a Leisure Assistant. Plymstock are looking for a suitably qualified individual to play a key role in ensuring the success and day-to-day running of the Sports Centre. Please see the Plymstock School website for full details or contact our Sports Centre Manager; email@example.com. Closing date: 9am Monday 13 December 2021.
Behaviour Support Assistant – Required from January 2022. Working alongside the Student Behaviour Improvement Manager, to deliver an effective service. This includes co-ordinating, supervising and supporting students who have been removed from lessons and to co-ordinate the school community detention system, including managing break and lunchtime detentions and those students referred to after school support sessions. Grade C – SCP 5 – 7 (£19,312 to £20,092) 31.25 hours per week x 39 weeks (Actual Salary £13,968 - £14,532) Closing date: 9am Friday 10 December 2021.
For more information on the above roles, please go here.
Hele's School are looking for the following vacancies:
Cleaner to commence at Hele’s on 4th January 2022. Further information can be found here or please call on 01752 337193. Closing date: Midnight, Monday, 6th December 2021.
Learning Support Assistant – 26 hours 40 mins pw x 38 weeks pa. Hele's are seeking an enthusiastic and adaptable Learning Support Assistant to support a student on a 1:1 basis and to provide support for students and teachers in mainstream classes and within the SEND department. The post will be linked to the funding for the student with specialist education needs and the post will be in place until the student leaves the school or no longer requires support.Closing Date: 9.00am, Friday 10th December 2021.
Finance Officer – Temporary Maternity Cover 1 year - 35 hours per week, 38 weeks per year. NJC Grade D - Starting salary £16,175.48 (pro rata of £20,493 FTE) Temporary 52 Weeks Maternity Cover. Hele's wish to appoint an exceptional candidate, who possesses energy and creativity and can provide effective and efficient cover to support colleagues in our Finance department. We would welcome applications from suitably qualified persons. There may be an opportunity for more than one year. Closing date: 12 noon, 15th December 2021.
For more information on the above roles, please go here.
Secondment Opportunity at Buckfastleigh Primary School.Buckfastleigh Primary School are looking for a highly skilled Year 2 teacher with a passion for reading who can come in and continue their development of Read Write Inc Phonics while the current postholder is on maternity leave. This role would be suitable for a secondment and interested teachers are encouraged to ring the school to speak to Eddie Brown, the Headteacher. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop your subject leadership skills and make a positive contribution in improving outcomes for children and influencing school improvement. You should have a great sense of humour and positive attitude to join our team at Buckfastleigh Primary School which is part of Westcountry School’s Trust. For more information, please go here.Closing date: Monday 6th December 2021 (12pm).
Ivybridge Community College are looking for the following vacancies:
Pastoral Leader - The Pastoral Leader roles are the first response for everyday pastoral concerns. They are required to lead and manage the delivery of pastoral support for an allocated Year Group. The role of the Pastoral Leader requires accurate record keeping and effective communications with stakeholders at all levels, which is both timely and effective. Closing date: 9am on Friday, 3 December 2021.
Teacher of History - This vacancy is full-time and permanent. There is also the possibility of a Teaching and Learning Responsibility for a candidate with the right level of experience. Please indicate on your application if you wish to also apply for this Teaching and Learning Responsibility. Closing date: 9am on Monday, 6 December 2021.
Two exceptional individuals to join the HR team at Ivybridge Community College. The HR Administrators will undertake a full range of contractual administrative and payroll/pension-related tasks and will work alongside the HR Advisor assisting with employee queries, maintaining and updating employee records/documents and databases. The post holders must have knowledge of a range of HR administration, payroll and/or pensions practices and procedures acquired through relevant training and/or experience.Closing date for: 9am on Thursday, 16 December 2021.
For more information on the above vacancies, please go here.
South Dartmoor Community College are looking for the following vacancies:
Premises Manager and H&S Co-ordinator - South Dartmoor Community College is seeking to appoint a Premises Manager and H&S Coordinator to work alongside the estates team. The successful candidate will be hardworking, self-motivated and enjoy working in a team as well as under their own initiative. You will work with the Director of Estates in ensuring a clean and safe environment is maintained for our staff, students and visitors. Closing date: Tuesday 14 December 2021 at 8.00 am.
A site caretaker to work alongside the estates team. The successful candidate will be hardworking, self-motivated and enjoy working in a team as well as under their own initiative. You will work along side the Premises Manager in ensuring a clean and safe environment is maintained for staff, students and visitors. Closing date: Monday 13 December 2021 8.00 am.
A highly organised, enthusiastic and inspirational Year Leader. This is a full time, permanent position, with the year group to be determined on appointment. The successful candidate will work closely with the Directors of Key Stages and the Assistant Head teachers for Progress and Culture to ensure all students within their year group fulfil their potential. Closing Date: Monday 13 December 2021.
An Exams Officer - The successful candidate will be hardworking, self-motivated and enjoy working in a team as well as under their own initiative. Previous experience within this area would be advantageous. You will be a committed and loyal individual; with high expectations and an unwavering determination to get the best for students. Closing Date: Monday, 10 January 2022 at 8.00 am.
Please go to the website here for more information on the above roles.
Coombe Dean School are looking for a Cover Supervisor to facilitate students’ learning in the absence of teachers. Coombe Dean School are looking to appoint a confident individual who can create and develop good relationships with students and who has a strong commitment to supporting student learning. The ability to work independently and as part of a team is essential. The successful applicant will demonstrate an understanding of the issues related to the motivation of students and have a good education with a minimum of 5 GCSEs A-C or equivalent. For more information, please go here.Closing date: 6th December 2021 09:00am.
Holbeton Primary School are looking for a currently require a Teaching Assistant with an NVQ Level 2 Qualification. Holbeton are seeking to recruit a highly supportive, friendly and experienced Teaching Assistant to support the needs of a child on a 1 to 1 basis in our foundation class. This will also include 1 to 1 support during lunchtimes. The persons appointed would need the skills and qualities necessary to demonstrate - a secure level of understanding of SEND needs, safeguarding policies and procedures, and consistently high levels of behaviour and learning, to join our team in January. For more information, please go here.Closing date:Monday 13th December 2021 9am.