The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant another lockdown in England, although schools remain open this time.
School guidance has been updated to reflect the growing rise in cases – face coverings are now mandatory in communal areas in all secondary schools in England, while older pupils in Scottish schools in high risk areas must wear face masks in classrooms, as do their teachers.
Due to the continued threat posed by the virus, and the constantly evolving regulations, schools have had to adapt to the “new normal”. As Fiona Riley from IOSH points out on page 15, “it’s important we recognise how well schools have dealt the whole Covid-19 situation. There have been outbreaks, but these have been well-managed.” Fiona goes on to say that schools must also risk assess the mental health of staff to ensure they feel safe in their working environment, and are coping with the burdens caused by the pandemic.
This is backed by Alison Powell, head of HR at Severn Academies Educational Trust (SAET), who says that providing support to teachers, and spotting early warning signs that they may be struggling, are key to reducing professional burnout and absenteeism. Read her feature on page 67.
The Education Business Awards will be taking place digitally on 26 November, and the shortlist will be finalised imminently (keep your eyes on www.ebawards.co.uk). In the meantime, on page 51, we preview the event and take a look at past winners’ success stories.