Tea trolleys, better pay: How to raise teachers' morale

School leaders in the North share their tips for helping staff through the Covid-19 crisis
14th October 2020, 1:46pm

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Tea trolleys, better pay: How to raise teachers' morale

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/tea-trolleys-better-pay-how-raise-teachers-morale
Tea-trolleys & Better Pay: How Schools Are Helping Staff Through The Covid-19 Crisis.

The coronavirus crisis has meant teachers have faced a term like no other since pupils made a full return to education last month.

But during a panel discussion at the online Schools North East summit today, school leaders shared ways in which they have found positives through the crisis - involving a tea trolley and the ditching of performance-related pay.


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John Hardy, chair of the Schools North East network and a primary school headteacher, revealed that his school has developed an old-fashioned solution to improving staff morale at a time when teachers cannot move around the school.

He said: "To bring up and boost staff morale we have instituted a tea trolley. We have a tea trolley that trundles around the school and serves a hot drink to all of the staff who can no longer move out of their bubbles and so on."

Mr Hardy, who leads St John Vianney Roman Catholic School in Hartlepool, added: "We are so pleased with it that as we move into the winter we are thinking we may offer hot soup to our children as well to keep them warm in the freezing cold ventilated classrooms we now find ourselves in."

The panel discussion also heard how Covid-19 has changed the way schools deal with the issue of pay.

Maura Regan, the chief executive of Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust in County Durham, said her trust's schools had "decoupled performance management and pay".

The crisis had allowed schools to look at "getting rid of the onerousness of performance management", she added.

She said: "We have now just set three targets - none of them data based - and everybody has got the same and long may that continue."

Stephen Tierney, chair of the Headteachers' Roundtable think tank group, urged other schools to follow this example and scrap performance-related pay.

He added: "Performance-related pay. What was that all about? Can we really afford to be upsetting people now?"

He said that at his former trust in Blackpool it was ditched and "staff just got the pay rise".

Mr Tierney said: "I know that budgets are squeezed but I think this is a great time to look at this and say: 'What was that all about? What were we thinking?'"

Meanwhile, Christina Jones, the chief executive of River Tees Multi Academy Trust, in the North East, told the panel discussion that, as alternative provision provider, she felt the crisis was giving "mainstream schools a flavour of our everyday life".

She added: "It has been recognition for staff in AP that a lot of the approaches and pedagogies that we are using can be really valued."

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