Breaking down the true cost of absence - and how to reduce it

Tracey Gray, director of support, Walbottle Campus and Les Marshall, director, Education Mutual

Risk management: how do you protect your biggest expenditure? This session is a chance to look at the way you manage the risks associated with spiralling supply costs. With school budgets under increasing stress, and reserves lower than ever, it’s never been more important to have budget certainty. Insuring against the risk of absence is one way forward, but are their other options? Can a school-wide focus on health and wellbeing help to deliver a significant reduction in absence? If so how can this be supported? In this session we’ll break down the true cost of absence - and look at how to reduce it.

Take home points:
  • An examination of the different pitfalls associated with staff absence cover from an industry expert.
  • Learn about different ways of managing staff absence – and evaluate their strengths and flaws.
  • Examine the different types of healthcare available for staff.
  • Examine the different types of healthcare available for staff.
This session is for:
SBMs with responsibility for managing absence - and anyone interested in making budget savings while, at the same time, looking after their staff.

Les Marshall is director of Education Mutual which was founded by like-minded education professionals disillusioned with increasing premiums and a decreasing service. A mutual isn’t a new concept, they’ve been around for centuries; they do not have to make money for investors or shareholders. Education Mutual is owned by its members – schools, colleges and nurseries, all education providers, with the purpose of keeping more of the budget within education.

Tracey is the director of support at Walbottle Campus. She is a fellow of the CIPD and a fellow of ISBL and is a qualified ILM coach. Tracey’s role encompasses the role of business leadership – incorporating strategic human resource management, health and safety, finance, income generation, IT and technical infrastructure, estate management/leisure and community. Tracey’s work ensures the students and staff are well supported to achieve their potential within a safe environment which is sustainable and financially stable.

Tracey became a founding director of Education Mutual in July 2018, which has been set up ‘for schools by schools’ and seeks to promote ethical and affordable solutions around staff absence and wellbeing for its members. Education Mutual now has more than 500 member schools which are working towards becoming more efficient and sector-led.

Tracey was chair of trustees of the ISBL for five years (May 2013 to June 2018) and led the organisation’s strategic direction on their journey to ‘institute’. During this time Tracey also provided strategic input into the development of national Professional Standards for School Business Management. Tracey received a reward of recognition from ISBL in December 2017 for outstanding contributions to the profession of school business leadership. She is currently on the SBM committee for Schools North East representing Newcastle secondary schools. She has also presented nationally at the Westminster Education Forum as well as various local and national conferences and seminars for school business leaders and governors.

Tracey has a Masters in professional practice, a post-graduate diploma in human resource management and development and a post-graduate certificate in educational studies.