As 2021 comes to a close we continue to wrestle and deal with COVID and all of its associated complications. We knew, this time last year, that we were in for a difficult January and February. I’m afraid, given the data the government is now sharing, that we are likely to again experience significant difficulty and upheaval in the first two months of the year.
I want to thank you for all that you have done over the last year, we have achieved probably more than we realise. Our Vison, Mission, and Values continues to help us to be “stronger together”.
Enjoy the festive break once it arrives.
Rob Haring, CEO
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 email@example.com.
Hello, my name is Julie Eames and I am a teaching assistant at a West primary school. I am currently in my final year of a BA(Hons) primary education degree. I would really appreciate your help with my research project. Through my project I am hoping to gain a greater understanding of well-being in primary education. Please could you complete the attached questionnaire via the link; it should take no longer than 15 minutes. To clarify this questionnaire is to support my development journey as a Marjon student please see the attached participation document which will provide you with further details.
Thank you for your support
Revised Guidance for Managers and Staff on International Travel
Please review the attached guidance which reiterates the importance of ensuring we are all fully cognisant and understand our responsibility to check any requirements and restrictions which may apply to our own circumstances before embarking on any travel abroad, to ensure that we allow sufficient time to complete any period of quarantine (including awaiting test results) or self-isolation in readiness to return to work in January.
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.
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.
A reminder 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 are times when we all need some extra support to balance the demands of everyday life. WeST has ensured that the Care First support will be available when needed and this continues throughout the school holiday period, 24/7 for all WeST colleagues.
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:
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.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this terms whole Trust staff survey! You may recall from the earlier Wednesday Whistle articles that 784 colleagues participated and this equated to 37.7% across the Trust.
A copy is also available on the staff portal for all colleagues to review.
This action plan will operate alongside local school / business unit activities. Copies have also been shared with our union colleagues at JCNC and Wellbeing Network colleagues.
The Trust has committed to ongoing work to address your feedback and values the input of all staff.
Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback in this process. Should you have any queries on the staff survey process or action plans please contact HR@westst.org.uk
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.
Lord Mayor returns to her children’s school and opens new Bike Shelter to encourage children to cycle more and travel sustainably
Boringdon Primary School welcomed Lord Mayor Terri Beer, whose own children attended the school previously, to formally open the new Bike Shelter on Monday 13th December 2021 at 10am.
In her speech the Lord Mayor said:
‘I am delighted to open this bike shelter as I am so passionate about the environment and sustainability. Projects like this, and encouraging young cyclists like these children, are how we are going to start tackling the obesity crisis in our City’
For the event the Lord Mayor was joined by two keen cyclists from Year 6; Arthur Smith and Jayden Elsey.
Arthur confidently told the Lord Mayor:
‘I love cycling to school now we have the shelter. I call for my friend Jayden and we cycle up the hill to school together’
Jason Scales, Headteacher said:
We are delighted to welcome the Lord Mayor to Boringdon, particularly when she has such strong ties with the school. The children have really enjoyed talking to her about their cycling and hearing how much the school buildings have changed and modernised since her own children attended.
The Lord Mayor also drew the top three prizes for the school’s Christmas Raffle, in aid of Friends of Boringdon School, who co-funded the bike shelter along with the Council’s Sustainable School Travel Grant.
Hannah Daragon, Chair of Friends of Boringdon said:
Our Christmas Raffle this year raised over £2000 and it is through fundraising projects like this that we were able to grant the funds to the school to help the bike shelter project come to fruition.
We are delighted to inform you of the following exciting career opportunities within our Trust:-
Westcountry Schools Trust is looking for the following vacancies:
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.
This is an exciting opportunity to join the newly established Breakwater alternative provision, and exciting collaboration between Plymouth secondary schools and Plymouth City Council as a:
Teaching Assistant (fixed term - maternity cover)
Teaching Assistant (fixed term August 2023)
Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust and Westcountry Schools Trust are working in partnership to provide bespoke support to small groups of pupils in Year 7 and 8. Located at either All Saints Academy Plymouth or Eggbuckland Community College the teacher and teaching assistant, supported by Educational Psychologists and a seconded senior leader, offer a relationally-based approach to identify the academic and social barriers that are hindering the pupils’ ability to be successful in their mainstream setting. Pupils typically engage in a 10-week programme at The Breakwater, during which they maintain contact with their home-school. For more information on the above roles, please go here.Closing date: 9am on January 14, 2022.
The Learning Institute is looking to appoint an End Point Assessor for the Teacher Standard to provide opportunities for individuals and communities through high quality education, training and research programmes that challenge personal barriers and promote social inclusion. The Learning Institute believe learning should be informed by research, guided by ethics and committed to communities. The Learning Institute is an End Point Assessment Organisation for apprenticeship standards. For more information on this role, please go here.Closing date: midnight on 16th January 2022.
Woodford Primary School is seeking to appoint an enthusiastic, conscientious and self-motivated Cleaner to provide a key role in maintaining the cleanliness of our school site, ensuring a welcoming and safe environment for the whole school community. The hours will be 2 hours per day Monday to Friday during term time with a more flexible approach during the 3 week periodic clean (1-week spring break/2-week summer break) under the supervision of the Site Manager. For more information, please go here.Closing date: 21st January 2022.
Plymstock school are looking for the following vacancies:
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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.orgClosing date: 9am Friday 14 January 2022.
For more information on the above roles, please go here.
Hele's School are looking for the following vacancies:
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. For more information on the above roles, please go here. Closing date: 12 noon, 15th December 2021.
Coombe Dean School are looking for Behaviour Support to work alongside the Behaviour Support Manager, to manage the learning environment in their Reflection Room. Although candidates do not need to have specific Behaviour intervention training, they must articulate a strategic vision for the future development of our provision; have a firm commitment to inclusion; and confidence in their ability to relate to, and work effectively with, teaching and support staff in all areas of the school. They also need to demonstrate their ability to form positive relationships with students, parents and carers and external agencies. For more information, please go here.Closing date: 4th January 2022 09:00 AM.
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. Closing date for: 9am on Thursday, 16 December 2021.
Teaching Assistant (Grade B) - The post holder will work under supervision and direction, usually within the classroom providing general support and assistance as part of a professional team, through the organisation and day to day maintenance of teaching resources and administrative support. Closing date: 9am on Tuesday, 4 January 2022.
Teaching Assistant (Grade C) - This individual will work under the instruction and guidance of teaching/senior staff to undertake work/care/support programmes, to enable access to learning for students and to assist the teacher in the management of students and the classroom. Work may be carried out in the classroom or may regularly take place outside the main teaching area. Closing date: 9am on Tuesday, 4 January 2022.
Learning Resource Centre Coordinator, on a fixed-term basis to cover a period of maternity leave. This post will suit an aspirant leader. The post-holder will ensure that the Learning Resource Centre is a stimulating, challenging, supportive and safe environment for all, in addition to promoting literacy across the College, through collaboration with curriculum and pastoral leads. Closing date: 9am on Tuesday, 4 January 2022.
For more information on the above vacancies, 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: 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.