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Leadership, Redesigning Schools

What Award Should You Get for Great Service? #SaturdayThunk

Following a proposal from one of our Directors I’ve been working on a series of in-service loyalty awards.  The policy applies equally to all staff employed by the Trust and is based on total years of continuous service with us.  How would you view these proposals?  Would you think it’s tokenism, be suspicious of “the management” or welcome the fact that your service has been recognised?

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Gian Luigi Perrella via Flickr cc

The in-service awards, if adopted, will replace the Long Service Award, given at retirement following twenty five years of employment.  Many schools have this long service on retirement award.  Our idea was to recognise more people, earlier in their career and whilst they were still with us.  It’s part of our attempt to be seen as the employer of first choice in the area, the type of schools where people want to work.  A union representative said they had never seen anything like it, which I’ve taken as a positive comment.  The proposed in-service awards are:

In Service Award

The “monetary award” will be given in vouchers or as a gift up to the value stated.  If you are thinking of doing something similar you won’t believe the tax issues you have to wrestle with; this is attempt number four.

Over the years I’ve come to realise and accept that a staff body is made up of a very diverse group of people and there is nowt so queer as folk.  Almost anything you propose, whether it’s a day’s holiday or a bit of cash will be met with diametrically opposed responses.  It’s part of the reality, fun and burden of leadership.  Here are a few of the different perspectives I might receive as part of the consultation (or may not receive but someone might think to themselves):

We’ve Come to Work …

  • I’ve come here to work and with thirteen weeks holiday I shouldn’t expect any more
  • Missing classes, I’m paid to teach, is inappropriate and sets a bad example to pupils
  • If there is spare money in the budget we should spend it on the pupils

What’s He Up To …

  • Mark my words there’s trouble ahead, you don’t get something for nothing
  • This is no more than a bribe to make us stay and a sign of management desperation
  • It would be much better if they actually got to grips with <add your own issue here> rather than mess about with this irrelevant policy no one wants

It’s Great to Be Recognised …

  • Having worked here for ten years it’s lovely to be recognised with an extra day’s holiday, I’ll save it to the summer after the exam classes have left.
  • I’m going to take my toddler’s birthday off and spend it with her/him.  What a great way to have some family time.
  • I going to buy <add your preferred gift here>.  After twenty years’ service it will be a wonderful reminder of all the pupils I teach/I’ve taught and the great colleagues I work/I’ve worked with.

What would you have included in your school’s in-service award scheme?  If you would like to see the details of the scheme it is available here.

#SaturdayThunk is based on something I’ve been thinking about, discussing, working on or has been topical that week.  The thunk is designed to be bite sized and will deliberately be kept short.  It will take one small issue or an aspect of something much bigger.  The intention is for it to be read in two minutes as you’re relaxing or busy running around on you day off.



12 thoughts on “What Award Should You Get for Great Service? #SaturdayThunk

  1. Hmmm. I think it’s nice that something should be in place to acknowledge and recognise longevity, loyalty and quality of service. Not sure a day extra holidays is necessary or sufficient though. For every year a reserve army officer spends in post they get a cash bounty, tax free, which goes up in value every year of service. It’s about 300 or 400 to a grand I think. Yearly. Can teachers get the same? Government bounty? Tax free? Increasing every year?

    Posted by @cazzwebbo | October 17, 2015, 1:45 pm
    • The tax issue is a nightmare until you have 20 years service at which point it becomes tax free. Always a danger of tokenism but despite shrinking budgets we wanted to do something to recognise staff on top of what we already do.

      Posted by ExecutiveHT | October 17, 2015, 4:18 pm
      • Why can’t they use the same system the army does?

        Posted by @cazzwebbo | October 17, 2015, 4:19 pm
      • No idea but that’s not within our control so we are attempting to do what we can. Would be happy to see a change in the tax policy though 😊

        Posted by ExecutiveHT | October 17, 2015, 4:32 pm
      • It’s strange that the army can pay tax free yearly bounties from first year on with reservists, but not teachers

        Posted by @cazzwebbo | October 17, 2015, 4:35 pm
  2. See army reservist rates of pay and bounty details here: http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/Rates_of_Pay_Army_Reserve_2015.pdf

    Posted by @cazzwebbo | October 17, 2015, 1:47 pm
  3. Lovely idea bu a letter from head and/or governors a clap and some flowers, and maybe a mention in the school/local paper would be appreciated as well

    Posted by Nicola Isaac | October 17, 2015, 2:56 pm
  4. I wouldn’t like rewarding staff this way but only because I prefer more regular appreciation along the way and I know some teachers ( historically) who have been in post for yonkety yonk years but their service has been less than great! We already have a policy of PPA being at home if staff wish, and we try to cover ‘family events’ in house by shuffling cover or I will take classes e.g. someone’s daughter had a hospital appt at 9am so I covered till teacher got back. Am sure the questions you encountered would also come with the ‘do we backdate it?’ from some staff and does it apply to everyone? If so I have about £1000 to hand out and will be cleaning and cooking 200 lunches fairly soon – that would be a step too far!

    Posted by Dorastar | October 17, 2015, 4:12 pm
    • Thanks for this but not an either all. We do all the above, free tea, coffee and biscuits every break but wanted to add to what we already do.

      Posted by ExecutiveHT | October 17, 2015, 4:15 pm
      • That’s great, the law of sod says I have moved jobs at year 4, done just under 11 but had 1 year out having kids and am currently on year 5 so a long way to go before I get even an extra day off! Long service awards were ditched in LA years ago but our governors do recognise it & reward it financially when people retire.

        Posted by Dorastar | October 17, 2015, 5:34 pm
  5. I am not surprised at the mixed response Stephen. I think for me the issues are:

    Will such a system be embedded within a natural culture of honouring, authenticity & generosity for children & adults alike?

    Is the system sustainable? For example, a local school implemented something similar recently. Change in management & ‘O’ grade led to system being removed due to other pressing priorities. Those on the cusp of receiving were gutted. Created a division of those who had received & those who missed out.

    Finally, if a staff member is on capability procedures & hits a milestone – what impact will this have? Had to deal with such a scenario awhile back. Again culture & fairness (perceived & real) – key.

    Posted by Anita Devi | October 18, 2015, 6:17 am
    • Thanks Anita. I haven’t actually had many responses yet but was trying to guess what I might get. Absolutely agree about positive culture and hope we have built this over the last few decades. What we wanted to do was add to it and “O” won’t change my mind. Final point would be to never conflate your processes – discussed thin with Directors when we were putting this policy together – capability is separate.

      Posted by ExecutiveHT | October 18, 2015, 8:24 am

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