Welcome to the penultimate edition of this term’s ‘Whistle’.
It will come as no surprise that many of this week’s messages relate to COVID, its variants and our response to the on-gong situation.
We know, from the information from our schools that the spread and level of infection was causing significant disruption to how our schools operate day to day.
It is for this reason that we made the decisions we did around how we approach the festive season and that events could not be attended by parents and community members on our school sites. Yes, this decision was seen as somewhat harsh from some quarters but, as we see the measures the government are implementing from Monday, our decision was measured and appropriate in terms of protecting our staff and children together with preventing the spread of infection.
We now know that the government have asked people to work from home, where possible, and to wear face coverings when in communal areas. Schools will remain open to all children and as such we will required our staff to be on site to ensure that our provision for children is as normal as possible. Please do take a moment to read that attached guidance document outlining this approach with greater clarity and detail.
Thank you for all that you are doing to continue to provide the highest educational experience possible for our children at this difficult time.
Rob Haring, CEO
The following Trust policies have been reviewed and updated, have proceeded through union consultation with JCNC colleagues and are due for submission to Trust Board on the evening of 15th December for consideration and adoption:
Recruitment and Selection
Low Level Concerns
The documents are available to view on the WeST Staff Portal and the HR Team would welcome any comments by 9am on 15th December via HR@westst.org.uk in order that they might be taken into consideration by Trustees.
Update your Personal Details and Download your Payslips
In April 2022, the Trust are moving to one payroll provider, Midland HR (MHR).
Many staff currently access payslips through employee self-service. Copies of payslips and P60s stored there will not be transferring across from your current provider to MHR. Access to old payroll systems via employee self-service will cease once we have gone live.
Therefore, please ensure that you have downloaded copies of your individual payslips and P60’s from your current payroll provider, prior to April 2022. You may wish to print these or retain an electronic copy, saved to your own area.
Updating your personal details is really important. If you are yet to update details about any change (such as full name, address, contact number and personal email address) please can you ensure your data is up to date at the earliest opportunity. This will include informing your local school administrator for local systems and informing payroll systems.
If you have any questions relating to this, please contact the HR Team on 01752 891754 ext 1765 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
We're delighted to announce that WeST staff can now access Workplace Extras to make use of a brand-new workplace benefit - Discounted Gift Cards.
Discounted Gift Cards are the smart way to shop. With a little planning, you can save on the upfront cost of everything from your weekly shop to coffee to go, clothing to homeware, and much more.
To access Discounted Gift Cards via Workplace Extras, please speak to your school/business unit HR admin contact who will be able to provide you with the link for your school/business unit.
You'll be asked to complete your account registration by entering your details and verifying your email address. Once you've registered, you'll be all set to access and enjoy a wide range of Discounted Gift Cards.
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.
Free web sessions from our Employee Assistance Programme
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.
Through their website all WeST colleagues can access, free of charge, a series of webinar sessions on a range of topics. Just visit the website and enter the below log in details. On the homepage you can select ‘Weekly Updates and Support’ to see a calendar of events to register for. If you are unable to attend the live event you will receive a recording to review at your convenience.
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.
Below is a copy of the current calendar of events for your reference. These are updated every 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:
Drinkaware's 12 tips to make the most of Christmas
As Christmas approaches, it can be hard not to get carried away with the ‘good cheer.’ It’s easy to see how the units in drinks can quickly add up. What might not be so clear is how they’re affecting your health and wellbeing. Find out more: www.drinkaware.co.uk
That's why Drink Aware have put together this quick guide on how to make the most of the most wonderful time of the year:
2. If you choose to drink this much, then spread your drinking over three or more days and avoid binge drinking. Our free MyDrinkaware app is available to help people track and calculate their units, set goals, and measure their progress over time.
3. Try allocating Drink Free Days several days every week when you don’t drink. This will help you reduce the overall amount you drink. Try telling your family and friends know that you're planning and that it's perfectly normal not to do so. If you have children, it will also show them that Christmas doesn't have to include alcohol.
4. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. A healthy meal before you go out or start drinking, and snacks between drinks can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol, helping you stay in control.
5. Avoid drinking before you go out, what some people call ‘preloading’– it’s very easy for the drinks to stack up that way.
6. Pace yourself by alternating any alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks and avoid drinking in rounds, which may make you drink more and faster than you intended.
7. Try downsizing your alcoholic drinks – it will help you drink less and reduce the amount of calories that you're taking on board.
9. If you’re heading out to a Christmas party, make your plans in advance on how you'll get home, with a licensed taxi or cab, and with people that you trust. Remember that lone men can be vulnerable too.
10. Keep warm and always take a coat. Alcohol makes blood flow to the blood vessels near your skin and away from the core of your body. If you then go out in the cold after drinking, you can lose heat very easily and quickly. And that can be dangerous.
12. The New Year is a fantastic opportunity for people to really look at the amount of alcohol they drink and, where necessary, to make long lasting changes that can benefit their health and wellbeing. So, why not take a first step towards achieving your New Year's resolutions and check out DrinkAware’s range of tools.
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:
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 20th December.
Finance Assistant to join our Core Services Team, based at Ivybridge Community College to support Business Units Trust wide. Westcountry Schools Trust (WeST) are looking to employ a permanent, all year-round Finance Assistant to join our Core Services Team, based at Ivybridge Community College to support Business Units Trust wide. This role would suit an individual who is hard-working and looking for their next challenge within the Education sector. For more information, please go here.Closing date:midday on Monday 20 December.
The Trust are looking for a solutions-focused Administrator to take up this newly created role supporting our dedicated school improvement function, who will be dedicated to improving the quality of education inside the Trust and acting always in the interests of children and young people. The School Improvement Administrator will work closely with the WeST School Improvement team, that is comprised of Executive Directors, Lead Practitioners and the Data Analyst/Data Protection Officer. The School Improvement Administrator will be undertaking a wide range of administrative duties, completing these with a well-organised and methodical approach. For more information, please go here.Closing date:9am Wednesday 15th December.
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. The role of Clerk to the Governing body will be expected to provide advice to the governing body on governance, constitutional and procedural matters. For more information, please go here.Closing date: 9amMonday 13 December 2021.
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.
Cover Supervisor – Required from January 2022. The successful candidate will enable the provision of learning to continue in the absence of the teacher, by utilising pre-prepared lesson plans. The Cover Supervisor will effectively manage the behaviour of students and where no cover duties are required, will undertake activities to assist teachers in the delivery of the curriculum. This is a permanent, part-time post – 30 hours pw x 39 weeks pa Salary – Grade D - Plymouth SCP 8 - 14 (Actual pro-rata salary £14,229 - £16,026) (FTE Salary £20,493 – £23,080) Closing Date: 9am – Friday 7 January 2022.
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.
Ivybridge Community College are looking for the following vacancies:
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.
Teacher of Science (Chemistry specialism preferred) Ivybridge Community College is committed to providing an excellent education for ages 11-18 years old and is looking forward to appointing an exceptional, inspirational teacher of Science (Chemistry specialism preferred) to join a successful Science Department which is highly valued by the Governors and Leadership Team. Closing date: 9am Friday, 10 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.
Head of Year - 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. S/he will be a hard-working individual with high expectations and an unwavering determination to get the best for students. Closing Date: Monday 13 December 2021.
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.
Holbeton Primary School are looking for the following vacancies:
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. Closing date:Monday 13th December 2021 9am.
Teaching Assistant to work in their year 3/4 class whilst also providing interventions to children across the school. Holbeton are seeking to recruit a highly supportive, friendly and experienced Teaching Assistant to join their expanding team of staff. Holbeton are looking for candidates who put learning at the heart of their practice, have a hunger to improve, a strong teamwork ethic and who are flexible. Closing date: Monday 13th December 2021 9am.
For more information on the above roles, please go here.
Coombe Dean School are seeking to appoint an Apprentice Receptionist to work within our busy reception area. You should be able to remain calm under pressure and have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. All training to be provided by the Teaching & Learning Institute in collaboration with the employer themselves throughout the duration of the apprenticeship. For more information, please go here.Closing date: 10th December 2021 09:00 AM.
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: Wednesday 5 January 2022 (12pm).
Boringdon Primary School are looking for a Teaching Assistant join their team. Boringdon are offering a highly rewarding career with plenty of opportunities for professional development. Their enduring aim is to ensure that all staff are well trained, motivated and provided with the support they need to fulfil their roles with confidence and warmth. If you are interested, please complete an application form available from the school website here.Closing date: 2nd January 2021.