St Helens school wins national award for recognising staff values

A St Helens Borough secondary school has been praised for its commitment to staff welfare after receiving a national unions award.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 10:19 am
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 10:20 am
Cath Twist - pictured with site manager Wayne Kelvin - was instrumental in St Cuthbert's Catholic High School achieving The Valued Worker Scheme

St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School in Berrys Lane, St Helens, was nominated for ‘The Valued Worker Scheme’ - an initiative which recognises and supports good employment relations in schools and colleges.

Jointly promoted by the NASUWT, GMB, UNISON and Unite, The Valued Worker Scheme looks to celebrate the practice of employers who commit to treating all employees fairly, equitably and with dignity.

By adopting the six Valued Worker Scheme principles, employers can demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ wellbeing. Employers signing up to the scheme will be asked to outline their workforce priorities for the year ahead and will have access to information and support throughout.

Key to St Cuthbert’s achieving The Valued Worker Scheme status is headteacher, Cath Twist, who - as well as showing excellent values towards her staff - also acts as Chair of Association of Secondary Heads, and is part of a local authority-led steer group which shares good practice to help improve all schools across the borough.

Speaking of her pride, Cath - who spearheaded St Cuthbert’s incredible transformation from a requires improvement to a good Ofsted-rated school in just over a year in charge - said: “This recognition is a testament to the hard work and commitment of St Cuthbert’s and in this current climate, of our site staff, led by Wayne Kevlin, to ensure that our school is a safe place for staff and students to be in.

“The wider opening of schools is a challenging and anxious time for all member of the community and it is imperative that we do everything possible to deliver confidence in getting the children back into school in a timely and appropriate manner.”

Passing on her congratulations, Jo Davies, St Helens Council’s Assistant Director for Education, Early Help and Children’s Health, said: “Cath works incredibly hard - not only with her own school community - but also the wider community.

“She is always family-focused and motivated to do what is right for all across St Helens. The local authority have particularly valued her contributions at the newly formed Education Recovery Group meetings which have been set up with unions, headteachers and local authority officers to look at how families and schools can be best supported in these unprecedented times.”

Councillor Sue Murphy, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Developing Young People, added: “This recognition is thoroughly deserved and testimony to the amazing results Cath and her team have achieved at St Cuthbert’s.

“The council is committed to working with all our schools to help improve outcomes, and recognition like this by showing the right attitude towards staff values can certainly go a long way.”

Mick Burrows, Assistant Secretary and Health and Safety Coordinator, St Helens & Newton NASUWT, said: “These are difficult times for schools as they try to juggle providing much-needed support for local children with the vital question of safety for staff and children.

“NASUWT has tried to work constructively with all head teachers and school managers to ensure a safe, practical solution can be provided, and the management at St Cuthbert's has been particularly thorough, careful and straightforward.

“They already had a well thought-out plan, which they shared with us in a spirit of openness, and they were prepared to listen to our suggestions and comments, have a proper discussion on an equal footing, and make the necessary changes. This is exactly how consultation with trade unions is supposed to work and we look forward to continuing this constructive dialogue in the future.”