Toby Lester
3 minutes length
Posted: 12th May 2020

MATs need to centralise for the staggered return to school

Now that schools are wading through the staggered return, it’s never been more important to work on your trust’s centralised processes.

Whilst the return means considering and balancing the needs and concerns of your staff, students and parents, you’ll also need to introduce new measures and contingency plans to help. Without official DfE guidance, this is a difficult issue that trusts will need to manage themselves.

Many unions and teachers are also calling for PPE, or personal protective equipment, to be given to teachers to prevent them from contracting COVID-19.

Here’s what you need to know about planning for a safe return. We’re here every step of the way to help you prepare for what will likely be a new way of working.

Preparing for schools to return

The government has stated its intention to send some school years back on June the 1st, but they’ve also said that this date is flexible. If the rate of infection hasn’t slowed to within safer levels, this date will be pushed back. This is important – Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, said it was important that the date was not “set in stone”, because it was still not clear “how the reintroduction of such significant numbers of pupils in primary schools can be safely managed”.

However, this announcement is considerably vaguer than most people may be hoping for, as it’s not clear what a ‘safer level’ may be. Because of this, you will need to plan for the possibility students may need to return at any point during the school year after June the 1st.

What will this look like?

School years are going to be sent back in phases, starting with the most critical years. This will most likely include reception, year 1, year 10 and year 12.

Class sizes will need to be drastically reduced to enable social distancing. This will have to be planned out, and it’s important to consider new seating plans that you can enact at a moment’s notice. Some classroom layouts may make social distancing impossible, and you won’t want to discover this the day schools reopen, so teachers need to start considering this now.

Supply chain agility

Many teachers’ unions are demanding PPE be made available ahead of schools reopening. Now is the perfect time to improve the agility of your supply chain to ensure you can get the right equipment where you need it.

Procurement tools such as PS Purchasing are ideal for trusts in a situation like this, as you can quickly roll out new, relaxed approval processes that enable on-site staff to get the volume of equipment they need.

Equipment and PPE usage

PPE is an expensive commodity, especially given the current crisis. It’s therefore vitally important to keep inventory of the equipment you have and to prevent it from going astray, as this could come at a great financial cost.

Asset management system such as IRIS Assets make this process easy and can even enable you to control and see what equipment each member of staff has checked out.

These systems won’t become any less useful in a post-covid world. Busy MATs use them to control their physical and intangible assets such as contracts across the entire trust.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you prepare for the staggered return to school, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’re here to help.