As schools across England and Wales welcome more children back into the classroom this month and those in Scotland and Northern Ireland plan to follow suit in August, they will need robust technology to manage staff absence, says Adrian Lewis, Director at Activ Absence.

Adrian Lewis says, “Many schools stayed open during the Covid-19 crisis for children of key workers, and schools across the UK are doing their best to get back to some normality. However, it is not a cohesive picture, which will present challenges for schools trying to keep on top of which staff are in school and which are off.”

“Also, the virus has not gone away. A surveillance programme[i] to test pupils and teachers across England for coronavirus has also been announced which could lead to a rise of teacher absenteeism if they have to isolate in quarantine for 14-days.

More than ever, schools will need to keep track of staff absence as well as keeping on top of staff rotations to ensure they have adequate staffing levels. Many schools are likely to need more teachers because of smaller classroom sizes due to social distancing measures, so having absence management software reduces the need for paper based systems and can free up time for staff who normally focus on administration and management.”

“An absence management system will track all absences, including those who are self-isolating, giving the management team complete visibility of their workforce so they can organise rotas effectively and recruit extra supply staff when needed to ensure adequate staffing levels”

“Schools have many challenges right now as they prepare to return and keeping everyone safe. Having the right software to keep track of staff is one less thing to worry about. Now would be a good time to invest this technology in preparation for a full return later this year.”

Chadwell Primary School in Essex invested in Activ Absence’s absence management technology last year. School Business Manager, Annie O’Kane has seen huge benefits, including a reduced workload.

Prior to using the software, the school found it challenging to keep timely and accurate absence records. Absence was recorded in Excel spreadsheets, which made it difficult for the school to do any in depth analysis, particularly as they have a lot of staff, which meant many different reasons for absences.

Annie O’Kane says, “Although the initial outlay was an additional cost within our budget, we are now seeing a saving in terms of the time I have to spend chasing staff up to complete the documentation and management of un-notified absences.

“From an administration perspective, the workload is now shared out between our Senior Leadership team. Managing staff absence was a huge task and used to take me four to five hours a week but now it takes less than an hour.”

“We have also seen a reduction in the small and repetitive absences because staff are able to clearly see the impact of their absence. This visibility makes staff more conscious that they will be ‘managed’ under the Sickness Policy because management can see the trends, triggers and levels of absence for every employee with just a few clicks,” she added.

For more information visit: www.activabsence.co.uk

[i] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-study-spread-in-schools-a4463401.html