THE MOST IMPORTANT WORDS IN THE WORKPLACE FOR EDUCATION BOSSES

-Individual, regular rewards improve employer desirability

– Positive connection found between individual rewards and employee motivation for education workers

– Clear correlation between lack of expressing gratitude and staff turnover in the education sector

NEW research reveals that education business leaders who thank their staff experience reduced staff turnover, improved staff retention and more successful talent acquisition.

A study of 1,253 workers, carried out by workplace and incentives provider, One4all Rewards, and published in The Magic Word for Business Growth Report, surveyed workers on the impact their existing and potential employers and bosses have when they say thank you or express gratitude for a job well done. 

The research revealed that 57% of education workers said that a company who rewards their staff with an individual cash bonus or gift card at regular intervals is a more desirable place to work. 

66% of education workers stated that they would be more likely to apply for a job with a company who gift staff an annual cash bonus or gift card.

Individual non-cash rewards such as treats, or gifts shared at regular intervals, would make a company a more desirable place to work for 57% of respondents in the education sector.

Gratitude and appreciation expressed by business leaders is not only an effective tool to attract new talent but also for motivating and retaining existing staff.

The data found that 65% of workers in education would be motivated to work harder if they received an individual cash bonus or gift card at regular intervals from their employer.

On the opposite end of the motivation scale, 41% of education workers cited that they would feel less motivated to work hard if their employer did nothing to say ‘thank you’ or show gratitude for a job well done.

Reducing people’s propensity to leave is also key to reducing staff turnover and increasing business growth.

Almost half (49%) of the education workers surveyed said that rarely receiving any form of thanks or gratitude from their employer would make them want to leave the company.

42% of adults from the education sector also said they would be unlikely to apply for or accept a job offer from a company who did nothing to say ‘thank you’ to their staff.

Michael Dawson, CEO of One4all, said: “Recruitment issues are something that affect all UK businesses regardless of size, industry, or stage of business they may be. A simple thank you from business leaders can create a butterfly effect retaining existing staff, attracting new talent and motivating employees to be more productive. High staff turnovers can be costly when considering the recruitment fees and training costs and reducing these costs can ultimately result in business growth and success.

“It’s important that business leaders understand the accumulating effect two simple, yet effective words can have on their overall business success. Not only do employers need to make sure they express thanks to their staff for a job well done but the timing and delivery of that gratitude is also key.”

One4all Rewards are industry experts in benefits and rewards. Working with over 6,000 businesses of all sizes nationwide, One4all Rewards helps to transform customer and employee relationships through successful rewards and incentive schemes.

For more information and to read The Magic Word for Business Growth Report, visit https://www.one4allrewards.co.uk/magic-word-report-2019

Experts Shine a Light On Changes Needed for Region’s Vulnerable Children

Thought leaders from across the UK recently came together to drive change for vulnerable children in the East Midlands. 

Hosted and funded by CIC Think2Speak at the company’s Gainsborough headquarters, stakeholders were invited to discuss, explore and inform Best Practice Guidance to be able to embed practical narratives for the planning and profile-building of vulnerable learners in education.  

Lizzie Jordan, Founder and CEO of Think2Speak, said: “As part of our commitment as a social enterprise, we like to give back by using our profits to support those in the communities we work with. 

“For this year’s conference, we brought together the innovators and ‘doers’ from across the East Midlands who are able to influence and implement change for the benefit of children and young people across the region.” 

The invite-only seminar event was organised by education, mental health, trauma and care specialist Mike Armiger and Think2Speak’s team. 

Mike, who delivered a keynote on Trauma Inclusive transition frameworks, is a specialist in the field of safeguarding, behaviour, looked after children and young people affected by trauma and mental health issues.  

Steve Barnes, Headteacher at Pilgrim School said ‘We’ve spent a great day with Think2Speak in Gainsborough exploring things the emotional literacy that professionals working with children and young people need to understand young people and the impact of the traumas they have faced.  

“Professionals need self-awareness to understand the impact that life might have had upon them – what are our trigger points and stress levels? We do not live in isolated communities separated from young people but in the same environments as them. Therefore, if we can see the consequences of living in weakened and more vulnerable communities on our young people then it is likely that the same stressors will be working on adults and staff too.  

“Leaders will have to lead with emotions in mind. Care needs to be taken with staff and similar approaches for staff will be required. Pupil and staff well-being are inseparable; after all, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.’ 

Other guests included: 

  • Sam Clayton, Principal Social Work Lincolnshire County Council 
  • Representatives from schools across the East Midlands including Springwell, Pilgrim School, Coritani and Build A Future 
  • Reps from KYRA, Nottinghamshire County Council, Bishop Grosseteste University 

To see more about the seminar, follow the #T2SLive19 hashtag on Twitter.   

HOW SCHOOLS CAN MAKE THE WORLD BETTER WITH A SWEATER

Flashing, festive knits will be sweeping the nation once again this year for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 13th December. Whether it’s at school, nursery or a youth group, we’re calling on children across the UK to swap their uniforms, for their silliest, most wonderful woollies and donate £1 each to help raise money for the world’s most vulnerable children both here in the UK and around the world.

In 2018 over 14,000 schools and nurseries took part, helping to raise over £4million. This year Save the Children wants the annual festive fundraiser to be the biggest yet. To ensure every child can take part Save the Children are encouraging schools to organise Christmas Jumper ‘Swap Shops’ or host crafting sessions to show pupils and parents that they don’t need to invest in a new knit each year.

Schools can sign up at christmasjumperday.org and they will receive a free fundraising pack, full of handy tips on planning a great day. Other ideas, to raise more money and make the day even more fun, include:

  • Christmas bakes – hold a bake sale at school and get all the children involved, by creating some fun jumper-themed cupcakes and biscuits
  • Tinsel the teacher – teachers get sponsored to spend a day in full Christmas fancy dress, promising that, the more donations they receive, the more ridiculous they’ll look
  • Carol-o-ke – organise a Christmas jumper sing-along where people battle it out to see if they really have the Christmas carol x-factor

Save the Children would like children across the UK to get involved at school and help create a brighter future for children around the world. All money raised through this wacky woolly-wearing could help give a child living in a refugee camp clothes to keep them warm through winter, help buy nutritious food for their entire family, or set up a safe space to give children the chance to be children again. It could also help bring essentials like healthcare, education and protection to children around the world to give them a better start in life.

Help us make it the biggest, most jingly and joyful Christmas Jumper Day ever.

For more information and to sign up, visit – www.christmasjumperday.org

For Facebook visit – www.facebook.com/christmasjumperday

For Twitter visit – @savechildrenuk #christmasjumperday

Lidl offering children the chance to make breakfast time a better time at their school

  • Supermarket will give £5,000 of vouchers to the winner of the nationwide competition to spend on their school’s Breakfast Club
  • Lidl is the NSPCC’s charity partner and has already raised £2 million for the charity’s school service

Lidl is giving primary school children across England, Scotland and Wales the chance to win £5,000 of vouchers to be spent on providing a better breakfast for their fellow pupils.

The supermarket is running the nationwide competition with its charity partner, the NSPCC, to give a boost to one school’s Breakfast Club.

To enter, all teachers need to do is get their pupils to tell Lidl and the NSPCC why they love their school.

This can be done in 100 words or less (poetry or prose), via a short video no more than one minute long, or through a scanned in picture (either a photograph or a drawing).

The competition is free to enter and runs until January 3rd, 2020, with the only criteria being that submissions must be an original work. Find more details and terms and conditions at www.nspcc.org.uk/lidlschools

Michael McGrath, Head of Partnerships from the NSPCC said:

“We are hoping as many teachers as possible enter their pupils in the competition and make it really difficult for us to choose a winner

“We are very grateful to Lidl for making this competition possible and giving one child the chance to provide a nice boost to their school’s breakfast club.”  

Georgina Hall, Head of Communications and CSR from Lidl said:

“Lidl is aiming to raise £3 million in three years for the NSPCC to help the charity reach one million primary school children through their Speak out. Stay safe service.

“The schools programme has been designed to teach young children about the different types of abuse and to encourage them to speak out if they are worried about anything.”

Navigating the complexities of condition improvement funding

For academies, securing condition improvement funding (CIF) can be crucial to maintaining the condition of their estate. Here, Allan Hunt, Director at building consultancy and architecture practice AHR, outlines how academies can maximise their chances of successfully securing a grant.

Academies and schools have a duty of care to their growing number of pupils to ensure their learning environment meets every health and safety requirement. One aspect of this is making sure their buildings remain in good condition.

For academies that are part of a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), it’s commonplace to have a dedicated estates management team responsible for maintaining the condition of their premises. But individual academies that are not part of a MAT are unlikely to have the support of an estates management team.

For these individual academies, the management of their building condition often falls to the leadership team – who have a long list of other priorities they also need to deal with.

To add to the challenge, unlike the larger MATs, individual academies and small trusts do not receive a School Condition Allocation from the Department for Education to fund any necessary building work. Instead, academies must apply for condition improvement funding themselves, which can prove a difficult and time-consuming task. 

Understanding the criteria

Before submitting a bid, it’s important for academies to understand the fund’s criteria, and whether the improvement works they require fall into the relevant categories.

The fund does not cover purely cosmetic improvements, instead prioritising safety concerns. For example, fire safety improvements, electrical safety concerns and emergency asbestos removal usually form the basis of a viable bid.

Weather tightness, continuous heating and water supply are also eligible, and roofing and window projects will also be considered if they are found to be sub-standard.

Academies rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, can also apply for CIF to fund expansion work but achieving funding for this is very competitive.  

Submitting a successful application

The Condition Improvement Fund is heavily oversubscribed, which means an application must meet the relevant criteria and include the correct level of detail to stand the best chance of success.

And while it may be tempting to include sections about an academy’s history or ethos in an application, it is the detail and evidence provided on the scope of work that will inform whether the bid is successful or not.

It may be difficult for academy leadership teams with little experience in this field to provide the level of information required. It’s also important that accurate cost estimates are provided.

The most effective way of avoiding unsatisfactory applications and evidence is to commission a professional survey. Having one undertaken will provide a full overview of the current condition of an academy’s estate. This means that leadership teams can prioritise what work needs doing and by when. It also flags any issues that could arise in the future, helping academies to avoid any nasty surprises and plan their budget accordingly.

New technology can help make the process simpler and more efficient. Innovative techniques can help accurately capture the spatial dimensions of an existing building and quickly produce 3D imagery, virtual tours and schematic plans. It also creates a central visual source of information on the condition of buildings across an estate. And as this is integrated with cloud technology, these images can also be easily accessed on desktops and mobile devices without the need for specialist software.

The information gathered will help academies to create their development plans. This, alongside an up-to-date schedule of condition for an academy’s estate, means that leadership teams are well positioned to stay ahead of likely repair work. It can also help put funding bids together more quickly and effectively when immediate repair work is required.

Overcoming complexities

For any academy leadership team looking to undertake refurbishment work or submit a CIF application, there are multiple criteria that need to be addressed, which can make it a daunting task. But the complexity of applying shouldn’t deter leadership teams.

Understanding what’s required for a successful bid and undertaking preparation, including commissioning building surveys and creating a development plan, will go some way in simplifying the process. The benefits of a high-quality learning environment shouldn’t be underestimated and can play a big role in enhancing pupils’ education.

The University of Hertfordshire partners with Fika to safeguard student wellbeing and employability

The University of Hertfordshire has become the latest higher education institution to partner with students’ emotional fitness app Fika, in a bid to safeguard its students’ wellbeing, academic performance and employability.

The Fika app, which helps students build their confidence, resilience, motivation, focus and empathy through simple five-minute emotional workouts, launched earlier this year, and has a growing list of university partners UK-wide.

The app offers more than 200 context-specific emotional workouts designed by psychologists to help students navigate the challenges of university life, as well as boosting their attainment and employability.

Students using Fika have reported increased positivity (83%), reduced anxiety & stress (81%), improved ability to handle challenges (82%), increased motivation (81%) and increased confidence (79%).

The University of Hertfordshire will pilot Fika across its School of Life & Medical Sciences, making Fika available to the School’s 4,000-odd students.

The School will also actively contribute to Fika’s academic research programme, working with Fika’s Head of Research and other university partners to quantify the impact of regular emotional exercise on student wellbeing, attainment and employability.

In addition, Joanne Askew, a PhD student at Hertfordshire, will devote her thesis to understanding and measuring Fika’s effectiveness in transforming, improving and maintaining student wellbeing in the UK.

Said Dr Philip Porter, Associate Dean of Education at the University of Hertfordshire (School of Life & Medical Sciences): “Fika is a proactive tool to build students’ mental fitness, equipping them to cope with the inevitable challenges they will face, at university and beyond. As a University that values our students as partners, we’re delighted to join forces with Fika, proactively giving students the tools they need to thrive.

With more than 24,500 students and 2,900 staff, the University of Hertfordshire boasts the highest graduate employment rate in the East of England, with 96.5% of students in employment or further study six months after graduating. The University’s teaching expertise was awarded the top gold ranking in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2018.

The partnership with Fika is testament to the University’s ongoing proactive investment in student experience, employability and wellbeing.

Said Nick Bennett, CEO & Co-Founder of Fika: “The University of Hertfordshire has a great reputation in student experience and employability, and we hope this partnership will help strengthen that reputation. We’ve now seen the extent of student demand for Fika, with students across more than 50 UK universities using and championing our app. We invite all UK universities to contact us about making Fika available to their full student bodies, helping us safeguard the next generation’s wellbeing, relationships and careers.”

Fika adds the University of Hertfordshire to a list of higher education partners include Bath Spa University, the University of Exeter, the University of Hertfordshire, the University of Lincoln, London Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales.

The company is exploring links with secondary education and further education, and has plans to expand across these sectors within the next six months.

Just one book can brighten a vulnerable child’s Christmas

BookTrust appeals to public to donate £10 to send a book gift to a vulnerable child this December


BookTrust is appealing to the public to dig deep this Christmas and help send special book gifts to children who are vulnerable or in care.

The UK’s largest children’s reading charity needs to raise enough money to send over 12,000 children in the UK a special Christmas gift.

Christmas can be a hard time of year for these children, but a surprise book gift can bring them joy and show them that there’s someone’s out there thinking of them. Just £10 will send a vulnerable child a surprise Christmas present to unwrap and treasure this December.

BookTrust has carefully chosen six beautiful hardback books for children aged three-13 in the Letterbox Club, BookTrust’s programme for children who are vulnerable and looked after.

Each parcel contains one specially chosen hardback book, a letter from award winning author and current Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, a poster and bookmark created by Neal Layton, and a postcard.

Cressida Cowell, best-selling children’s author and current Children’s Laureate said: “I am so happy and proud to be included in the Christmas gift parcel this year, and thrilled children are being sent a book in this parcel as a present! Books make the BEST presents, because they help you dream big, and make your own magic. I hope this Christmas parcel puts a smile on every child’s face and makes them feel special and important – as all children should.”

Children who are looked after are more likely to experience home or school moves, and these parcels, which are delivered directly to them wherever they’re living, provide a sense of continuity and stability, which is very important throughout the year but even more special at Christmas time.

Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust says: “This time of year can be extremely tough for vulnerable children and at BookTrust we want to make this time a little easier for them if we can. A £10 donation can send a book gift to one child, and go some way to brighten their Christmas and help them feel special.”   

Money raised from the appeal will also support sending book gifts during 2020 and BookTrust’s work with vulnerable children throughout the year.

For more information or to donate to BookTrust’s Christmas appeal visit booktrust.org.uk/xmas