Supply staff – to book or not to book during COVID-19? Your questions answered.
Many schools are up to their necks in risk assessments in an attempt to keep their staff and students as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. But where does this leave you with regard to supply staff and is it still safe to book temporary teachers and support workers?
What are the main questions/concerns schools have and how are we addressing this at Axcis?
1 – Where have they been recently?
With track and trace being at the forefront of many risk assessments, one of the major considerations when hiring a member of supply staff is, “where have they been?” School leaders may be concerned with whether that person has recently returned from a high risk country/city or whether they have been in contact with large groups of people in recent days.
Axcis solution: We are suggesting that schools which have a frequent need for day to day supply teaching/support cover should consider hiring a long-term staff member from an agency rather than booking ad-hoc staff on the day/the day before. That member of staff can then provide float cover as and when needed and be a consistent presence within the school (which would also work a lot better for many SEND children who thrive on continuity as well!) On days when cover is not required, they can assist with one to one intervention or support work. Plus, if you find that your need for supply dries up, you are under no obligation to keep that member of staff on indefinitely.
To support schools wishing to go down this route, Axcis are thrilled to offer a 10% discount* as our way of trying to help out during this difficult time. Get in touch with your local office to find out more.
We will of course also be following all track and trace requirements in-house and following the evolving government guidance to the letter.
2 – Are staff members properly trained with regard to PPE and hygiene?
In order to keep schools open and functioning, it is crucial for staff and pupils to maintain social distancing where possible, demonstrate effective personal hygiene and know how to use PPE correctly. This will help control the spread of the virus and keep schools open.
Axcis solution: all candidates registering with us are being given a personal bottle of hand sanitiser and a hygiene keyring. This will not only minimise the amount of contact they have with switches, buttons, handles, etc. It will also provide them with the ability to clean their hands at regular intervals, whether or not they are near a sink or bottles of sanitiser being provided by the settings. In addition to this, we have provided all Axcis staff with access to FREE training on effective hand washing and use of PPE. We feel that we have done the best we possibly can to help schools feel reassured that our staff will be well prepared to help prevent the spread of infection in any setting they work in.
3 – Where does the staff member live?
The government has made it abundantly clear that a nationwide school lockdown this winter will be highly unlikely. Instead, local lockdowns will be the way many areas will tackle outbreaks of the virus. However, for schools this can pose a problem. What if they have staff members who travel from an area in which a local lockdown is imposed? Will they be unable to come to work? If this happens, schools could find themselves short-staffed at a moments notice.
Axcis solution: At Axcis, we always try to find you staff who live as close as possible to your school. This will help to mitigate the risk of losing staff members during local lockdowns outside of the school borough.
4 – Will staff still receive CPD training during COVID-19?
Many school leaders may be wondering whether teachers and support staff hired through agencies are still receiving ongoing CPD training during the pandemic. This is a valid concern as the importance of continued professional development training is well recognised throughout the sector.
Axcis solution: At Axcis, we are working hard to offer online training. Our partners at nasen are offering CPD for the whole year for a one-off price of just £200 for an annual webinar pass (making each session only about £7.) This is something that they are able to offer in part due to our sponsorship of them, and we will be actively encouraging our candidates to take up the offer. In addition to this, Axcis are offering online training via Flexbee and direct CPD sessions to candidates via Zoom conferencing. In this way, we hope to continue to up-skill our candidates for their own benefit as well as that of the schools they are working in.
Do you need SEND teaching or support staff?
With these factors in mind, we hope that we have put your mind at rest that we can still continue to service your SEND staffing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, if you need any teaching or support staff, why not get in touch today to see how we can help you?
*Terms and conditions apply – please contact us for more information