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Endeavour House
8 Russell Road
Ipswich
Suffolk
IP1 2BX

0300 123 1420
services@schoolschoice.org

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How Schools' Choice Will Continue to Support Schools and Academies During Covid-19

In response to the ongoing global concern surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to reassure our customers that we are prepared and are committed to ensuring continuity of service through the challenging times that are ahead of us. 

In line with our adherence to ISO9001 (Consistency/Quality Management), we have completed the necessary measures to stress test of all our remote working systems, to ensure continued service delivery for our customers. We have also been working closely with key suppliers and have prepared contingencies, should the need arise, to ensure that you can continue to fully benefit from our services. 

Following government guidance, Schools’ Choice teams are starting to work from home where we can. We are closely monitoring the situation and have ensured every member of our team has the right support in place. Our priorities remain the well-being of our staff and ensuring that the service and support for our customers stay consistent. 

Information from Specific Teams 

Payroll and HR administration 

  • Remember you can input all data online – eforms and iTrent in real time.
  • We aim to reduce postal items to be able to manage 100% of work from home. Please send us electronic copies of forms eg MATB1’s. We will still have routine post management from our office for as long as we can. 
  • Email, phones and online chat continue to be available.  
  • In the event of authorisers being absent, we ask that you please confirm and provide contact details of alternative authorisers now. 
  • For customers that receive pre-payroll reports, you may also wish to consider providing us with outline authorisation to run payroll based on standing data in the system in the event of sickness absence of key staff. If you would like us to “pre-approve” payroll by providing some basic parameters that are in line with your governance arrangements and your auditors are in agreement, please confirm this to us. This will ensure, no matter what, everyone in the records currently, gets paid. Specific adjustments can be made in future pay periods when staff have returned. 
  • We are updating absence reasons in iTrent to enable you to record, report and measure COVID19 related absences.

 

HR Consultancy 

  • The HR Consultancy team recently completed training and are now qualified Mental Health first aiders and available to support your school 
  • To support you and your staff’s wellbeing at this challenging time, don’t forget to signpost them to our Wellbeing, Stress and Mental Health toolbox
  • If your school remains open in some form, and you have meetings booked with the HR Consultancy Team, these meetings are still able to go ahead. If for any reason your Named HR Consultant is not able to attend, we have other HR Consultants that could support, or alternatively we could look at undertaking a skype meeting or telephone call 
  • If you have any questions in relation to the Corona Virus, relating to staff absence please forward these to hrcaseworkteam@schoolschoice.org. Our first set of FAQs was issued on Tuesday 17 March 2020, if you did not receive these please email the email address and we will update our contact details. 

 

Governor Services 

  • We continue to be available on the phone 01473 263993 and by email for all queries.
  • It is not necessary to postpone or cancel meetings as they can be held remotely. A virtual meeting policy has been sent to all chairs to support this way of working.
  • Clerks are happy and able to attend remotely via Skype or other virtual meeting platforms.
  • Meeting papers will only be sent electronically, you will, therefore, need to print out a hard copy for the minute book and any governor who requests this.
  • If clerks do attend in person, we would be grateful if you would provide them with a hard copy of the papers.
  • Please inform us if you do make the decision to postpone your meeting.
  • Pupil discipline committee meetings – clerks can provide telephone advice before, during and after the meeting and support with the decision letter.
  • Governor training will not be taking place until after Easter, however, please note that all sessions are repeated in the summer term and can be booked on GovernorHub.
  • Online governor training is available here.
  • If you do not currently use GovernorHub, we would urge you to consider it now as it is the easiest way to ensure all governors are kept informed of news and information and have access to your documents. Please contact the team to find out how to access this service. 

 

Finance Services 

  • Our finance helpline is available, normal working hours apply 03456 037684 - Option 1 LA maintained schools - Option 2 Academy Finance 
  • You can contact us via email: finance@schoolschoice.org or academies@schoolschoice.org.
  • The team are able to continue to support over this time. You may choose to reschedule if not urgent or continue as planned if safe to do so. If an onsite visit is not appropriate, we are able to keep going by supporting remotely using software that allows us to connect with your finance system with your permission. Team members are all ready to support in this way and can work flexibly. 
  • All Managed Services support will continue remotely as scheduled. All team members have access to the systems to work from home safely and securely. 
  • In the event you have unplanned absences of key staff, please contact us for details of how we can prioritise supporting you. 

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