Disability Confident Employer
Liberty Academy Trust is a Disability Confident Employer.
As a Disability Confident employer we are:
- challenging attitudes towards disability
- increasing understanding of disability
- removing barriers to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions
- ensuring that disabled people have the opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.
We are currently a Level 2 organisation and continue to work to improve our practice.
Level 2: Disability Confident Employer
Once you’ve signed up for level 1 you can progress to level 2, a Disability Confident Employer, by self-assessing your organisation around 2 themes:
- getting the right people for your business
- keeping and developing your people
Disability Confident Employers are recognised as going the extra mile to make sure disabled people get a fair chance.
Having confirmed you’ve completed your online self-assessment, you’ll be registered as a Disability Confident Employer for 3 years. You’ll receive:
- confirmation of the completion of your self-assessment to become a Disability Confident Employer
- a certificate in recognition of your achievement
- a Disability Confident Employer (level 2) badge that you can use on your business stationery, social media and communications for 3 years
- information on how to become a Disability Confident Leader
GETTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Recruiting and Employing Staff
We currently employ colleagues across the organisation who identify as disabled and/or having additional learning needs or who identify as neurodivergent.
We are working to improve our recruitment processes to ensure they are fully inclusive and accessible by all. However, we ensure that disabled applicants who indicate a disability on their application form, and who meet the minimum job requirements, are guaranteed an interview.
We are flexible in our approach, considering hybrid working, where possible, and part-time / job share in schools, in order to attract the best people for the job.
Supporting the Access to Work Scheme
We actively support any colleague in applying for the Access to Work scheme, which provides grant funding for additional supports needed to ensure those who are neurodivergent and/or disabled are able to be the best that they can be.
The link here offers a full overview of the scheme: Disability Confident – Are you disability confident?
Offering Reasonable Adjustments as Standard
On appointment, line managers consult with all staff to ensure that any reasonable adjustments required are in place for the first day of the individual's new role. Throughout the year, during line management meetings which are formally recorded, the impact of existing reasonable adjustments are discussed and colleagues are offered the opportunity to suggest additional support that is needed. However, colleagues are welcome to discuss existing support at any time and do not need to wait for their formal line management meeting.
KEEPING AND DEVELOPING OUR PEOPLE
Training and Development for all Staff
On induction, all employees are expected to undertake the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training through the National College Online platform and all staff are expected to undertake Autism-specific training.
Clinical supervision is available for all Designated Safeguarding Leads and SENCOs across the Trust.
Executive Coaching is available for all Principals and Executive Leaders and we are committed to developing a coaching culture across all of our schools.
Listening to Disabled Staff
At Liberty Academy Trust, the views of all staff are valued. Termly surveys capture feedback which informs future actions. Sometimes actions are not implemented immediately due to cost or logistical implications, but feedback and timescales for action are always shared.
In September 2022, we introduced the Autistic Teachers Network to ensure that expectations for teaching and learning are communicated clearly and that suggestions for improved practice are actively sought from autistic colleagues.
From January 2023, this network extended its membership to all colleagues who identify as neurodivergent. This decision was made to widen the scope and reach of the network and ensure that neurodiversity more widely informs actions and improvements.
We have requested further feedback from colleagues to assist in the development of further support networks, so that any future developments are meaningful.
Recognising Mental Ill Health as a Disability
Mental ill health can be so debilitating that it can impact on work and home life equally. We therefore recognise mental ill health as a disability.
However, recent data and research suggest that more individuals who work in the education sector are experiencing periods of mental ill health than ever before. At Liberty Academy Trust, we recognise this and our commitment to the Mental Health at Work Commitment Standards is evidence of this.
All colleagues have access to the Employee Assistance Programme, which offers counselling and advisory services, as well as access to the Headspace and other wellbeing apps.
All schools have a qualified Mental Health First Aider in post on site and all schools have identified a senior member of staff to undertake the Diploma in Trauma and Mental Health Informed Schools qualification, which is currently in progress through Trauma Informed Schools UK.
We have also recently signed up to the Mind Workplace Well-being index for 2023-24 as further evidence of the high priority of this area.
Access to Occupational Health Services
On occasion, colleagues may need access to specialist services in order to support their experience at work. Occupational Health referrals may be made when colleagues need support beyond that of reasonable adjustments - perhaps if returning to work after a period of illness. The aim of this support is to ensure colleagues are able to work to the best of their ability and/or transition to full duties, as appropriate.