The last week has again flown by. Thank you to everyone across our schools for doing all that you have to ensure such a smooth reopening.
I am delighted to share that an early snapshot of children’s attendance across WeST schools continues to exceed our expectations. It is imperative that we ‘grasp the moment’ and do all we can to keep daily attendance at these high levels. Building good habits within clearly defined structures will go a long way to helping our children feel secure in these uncertain times. At the close of play on Monday 14th September, WeST’s average attendance in primary schools stood at 94.9% and in the secondary phase this was 95.1%. It should be noted, however, that our primary schools have been open for a marginally longer period than their secondary counterparts due to the distribution of non-pupil days.
Mirroring schools requirement to navigate a sensible path between recovery and on-going improvement, I move from the ‘here and now’ of attendance to the future through the lens of WeST’s Strategic Plan 2020-25. The Strategic Plan is not intended as a detailed document; rather a vehicle for signposting our ambition. The Strategic Plan acts as a road map and a long term approach to achieving our aims and goals. It tells us what we’re about, where we are, where we are going and how we are going to get there. It provides an overview of our strands of development and improvement. The Strategic Plan is the first step in moving from vision to strategy to impact.
“A wise woodcutter indeed is a person who, rather than constantly chopping wood, will occasionally stop to sharpen their axe” Unknown
This week has seen a school outside our Trust, but within close geographical proximity, partially close to a whole year group due to a positive Covid-19 test amongst one of their students. It is for this reason that the Teaching, Learning & Assessment Strand is the first highlighted here. Every minute of every lesson of every day really counts. Our children need high quality first wave teaching more than ever before. The immediate actions for us that we have set out to achieve in the next few months are summarised as follows:-
Focus on reading
Take care best wishes,
Rob Haring – CEO
We are delighted to inform you that there are a number of exciting career opportunities within our Trust as follows:-
At Plymstock School there are currently three vacancies for a Head of Performing Arts, Teacher of Mathematics (to cover Maternity leave)and Design & Technology Technician. For more information please visit the School's website https://plymstockschool.org.uk/vacancies/
This update follows on from last week's article regarding capital project works that took place over the summer:
Hele’s school has two lovely quad spaces within their building space, these are out door and great for the students to use in their lunch break, particularly on a sunny day. One of the quad spaces had become unsafe with cracks in the concrete base and it had become uneven, creating trip hazards. With robust accident reporting, it allowed us to prioritise this project as part of the School Capital Allocation (SCA) programme.
The Hele’s team led on this project with support from the Estates Team. In developing the specification and undertaking a thorough procurement process, it saw the competitive pricing process reduce the cost of the project from a projected £76,000 to £60,000.
As seen from the before and after photos, the works were extremely labour intensive and a good relationship developed between the school and the contractor.
The old base had to be broken out using mechanical equipment and lifted in skips using a crane that could clear the surrounding buildings as access was very limited.
The final result is a fantastic open space for the students to use.
Updates from the HR team:
Payroll Systems – DELT
As you may recall from last week’s Wednesday Whistle article, the schools supported by DELT Payroll Provider are due to be transferred to a new platform known as Core HR from October. The following schools are supported by DELT Shared Services payroll system:
Ashburton Primary School
Boringdon Primary School
Buckfastleigh Primary School
Chaddlewood Primary School
Dunstone Primary School
Glen Park Primary School
Oreston Community Academy
Plympton St Maurice Primary School
South Dartmoor Community College
Woodford Primary School
In preparation, over the coming weeks we will be sharing further details about the platform and access in the Wednesday Whistle and colleagues will receive direct individual access accounts.
DELT Shared Services, who process payroll/pension data for the above schools are changing to a new platform and have been undertaking extensive testing / preparations since March 2020. Data migration is underway and (which is a cloud hosted solution in Ireland) supplied by a company called CoreHR. For info on how DELT processes your data please read the Employee Privacy Notice. https://deltservices.com/privacy-policy.
The proposed go live date is 8th October 2020 (subject to successful completion of parallel tests).
What does this mean for you?
The new system will be available for you all to access from either your work provided ICT equipment or from personal/home devices including smart phones, tablets, laptops or home PCs.
As a result, we will ask you to try to access the system from whatever device you intend to use most often as quickly as possible when the system is released in October. Your personal devices will need to be relatively up to date and you may find that older models cannot access the system.
You will need to access the system in some way to receive your payslips since the new system cannot email these to you as per current standard practice for these schools/units. If you cannot access the system in anyway, please liaise with your local school administrator / WeST HR for alternative arrangements to be explored.
The system has a number of future possibilities for managing employment matters. However for the initial implementation WeST have opted to remain with paper/electronic form submission of contractual changes. Thus, the system will simply be used to access your personal details and payslips.
Payslips and P60s
Payslips and P60s for these school units are currently either emailed or provided to all employees on a monthly basis, however, when DELT moves across to the new platform, they will have limited access only to any historical document and it will not be easy to provide copies of either of these types of documents.
Please ensure that the copies you currently have (issued via email to date) are stored in a safe and secure location or printed and that you have valid copies for any previous months/years that you may require.
As you log into the system for the first time, there may be no payslips or P60s to view as the first payroll run on the new system may not have yet occurred (due 23rd October). Payslips will only become available after the first payment has been made from the CoreHR system and P60s will not show until they are generated for the first time next year.
Initially DELT will train people who have been identified as ‘CoreHR champions’ across WeST. These people will then cascade the training onto the remaining employees in our schools/units. In addition, videos of the initial training sessions will be made available so that the ‘CoreHR’ champions can either use it or refer to it in the training provided to you.
In addition to these videos, other training materials will be provided. We are awaiting distribution of the new materials and anticipate further information closer to go live, but this will include user manuals, mini guides and mini reference videos each 30secs to 2 mins long focusing on very specific utilities on the CoreHR system.
Login details and URLs (web address)
On the day/evening before go live, DELT will issue each individual within these schools/units with their own individual user name and temporary password. DELT will also provide the URL/internet address to access the system. This will be delivered by email to the address that we currently use for your payslips. If you do not currently receive your payslip by email, we will make alternative arrangements with your local school administrator.
Logging in for the first time
When you login to the system for the first time from a new device the system will prompt you for a PIN number. This PIN number will be issued as a text message to the mobile phone number that we have stored on your personnel records.
Enter this PIN number into the boxes presented on the screen and tick on the box disabling the function so as not to be asked to do this again. Placing a tick in the box will save you having to enter this PIN each time you access the system; you will only be prompted for it again if you log onto the system from another device.
Please note that the phone number provided to DELT is stored in an entirely secure part of the system that cannot be accessed or viewed by any other member of staff. The number will not even enter in the ‘Contact details’ section within the ‘My profile’ area of the system and therefore cannot be viewed by managers or HR staff for security.
As the system goes live there are a few pieces of information that we will ask you to check on the system. If your personal data is incorrect, please report this to your local school administrator / Business Manager / West HR as the ‘CoreHR Champion’ contact.
WeST HR are working closely with our colleagues at DELT to assist with a smooth transition to the new system and more information will follow in the coming weeks. If you have any specific questions please contact WeST HR team on HR@westst.org.uk.
Guidance on Self-Isolation and Recording your Status for Work
Please click here for a summary guide providing information on the requirements for self-isolation and testing, which I hope you find useful. This includes a reminder on the requirement to complete the on-line form to record your availability for work and to resubmit this each time your status changes. Please ensure you contact your local school or business unit office if you have yet to complete a form. It is important that we have this on record for each member of staff. Many thanks for your co-operation.
Childcare Vouchers – Maternity Leave and Leavers
Please be aware that those on Maternity Leave are not eligible for childcare vouchers through Computershare, our Salary Sacrifice scheme. Please could you ensure that once you have been made aware of new maternity dates or changes to return dates for those on the scheme, that these are communicated in advance to Beth Morgan, via the HR Inbox email@example.com.
Similarly, those who have left employment will still appear on the WeST childcare voucher schedule. For this reason, please make Beth Morgan in HR aware of any leavers who also receive childcare vouchers as they will need to be removed from the scheme.
Failure in actioning the above will result in an overpayment situation as individuals will have received their vouchers despite no deduction being made.
Should you have any queries relating to the Childcare Voucher scheme, please contact Beth Morgan in HR by phoning the HR Helpline on 01752 891754 ext 1765 or by emailing our HR Inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cycle to Work:
Last week we highlighted that WeST have been exploring the possibility of working with the provider Cyclescheme to offer Trust employees the opportunity to benefit from a Cycle to Work scheme.
Thank you to all of you have completed the short survey so far. If you think you may be interested in taking part in this scheme and have not completed the survey yet please read the FAQ document and complete the short form available here or via the QR code below. The form will be available for you to complete until 30th September 2020. This does not commit you to participating in the scheme but it will help us to gauge interest and take the right steps to make this scheme a success for you should you ultimately decide to take part.
Further information about the scheme is available on the Cyclescheme website. The HR Team is also available at email@example.com if you have any questions.
The Learning Institute is now actively recruiting for our new MA: Values-led Leadership, MA: Inclusion and SEND and our Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship, which can be fully funded through the Apprenticeship Levy. These are all a three year part time course.
As part of the apprenticeship you can choose to study an MA: Values-led Leadership or MA: Inclusion and SEND. Following completion of the dissertation within the MA: Inclusion and SEND, there is an option to study for an additional module to gain the National Award for SEN Coordination.
Please click here for our flyer, and for more information or contact Joy Mounter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Level 3 Teaching Assistant and Leadership Apprenticeships:
If you have any new Teaching Assistants who started this month or are due to start in the coming year, why not consider a Level 3 Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship to support their development and training. Or for those support staff with more experience, a Level 3 Leadership Apprenticeship will offer the opportunity for those taking on more responsibility, including leading a team of TAs, Administrative Supervision or as Assistant Year Head.
I am sure you will agree that these staff development programmes, offered only by The Learning Institute, are an exciting and valuable fully funded opportunity to build staff expertise and improve provision for your school communities.
Should you wish to nominate staff for the cohorts starting in 2020/21, or discuss plans for future provision, please do contact Ginny Honey via email@example.com who will look forward to hearing from you.