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Viking Academy Trust

Viking Academy Trust

STAFF Wellbeing

The Viking Academy Trust is proactively committed to ensuring that our employees thrive in our workplace by creating a culture of positive wellbeing. Please see below for more information about our 'Supporting Good Mental Wellbeing for Everyone' Strategy.

For more information contact: Mrs Lisa Blatchford, HR Director:

The Viking Academy Trust HR Vision: ‘Supporting Good Mental Wellbeing for Everyone’

The Viking Academy Trust passionately ensures that every single one of our employees is able to access effective support and advice so they can remain in full control of their wellbeing.

Our wellbeing strategic approach incorporates the following pillars which have been selected after the review of the latest research into wellbeing.  Our stance has always been about inspiring hope in others and the 4 pillars represent that promise.

4 Pillars of Wellbeing:

  1. Health
  2. Social
  3. Financial
  4. Career

Health:  We want all of our employees to put their health wellbeing on top of the agenda by ensuring that they have adequate sleep, eat well, get enough exercise and opportunities for relaxation.

Being physically active is not only great for our physical health and fitness but evidence also shows it can also improve our mental wellbeing.  Each of our three schools’ sites are situated within generous plots and opportunities to keep active are always available whether it’s going for a walk in the local area or taking part in one of our Viking led activities such as the colour run.

Opportunities are frequently made available such as yoga, running, walking and even sea swimming!  All three schools are situated in the beautiful area of Thanet where there are no less than 15 sandy beaches. 

Mental Health: We support emotional and mental health by providing many opportunities such as access to counselling which is swiftly arranged within 48 hours of signing up.  We also offer access to wellbeing coaching, stress management coaching as well as referrals to occupational health to help our employees recover from ill-health.

Our absence management procedure fully supports our staff, we regularly monitor absence because we know that higher levels of absence is usually linked with poor wellbeing.  We ensure that our staff are given a chance to chat at the earliest opportunity about any issues they are experiencing.  Our absence management is never punitive, it’s fully designed to ensure that our staff wellbeing remains at the heart of all we do and opportunities to address issues affecting our staff wellbeing directly at source.

We are also excited to announce that we have a brand-new Menopause Ambassador for the Trust from Term 1.  The Viking Academy Trust are proactively raising the profile of the silent difficulties that menopause can cause. We don’t want our staff having to deal with issues on their own, not when they work in a community of such a caring staff team. 

Social: We want all of our employees to have a strong sense of belonging within the family of schools within the Viking Academy Trust.  Good relationships are crucial to support our mental wellbeing. 

We know that one of the most obvious signs of poor mental health can be restricting one’s own social activities.  Previous research has shown that there is a link between experiences of loneliness and poor mental health.  Surrounding ourselves with other like-minded individuals can positively raise our mood and we have plenty of opportunities to do this across the Trust from Seasonal events such as the annual Christmas party to being buddied up with a staff mentor.  You will never be too far from support. Our staff team are hugely supportive and caring and this stands Viking Academy Trust out from the crowd. 

We also actively encourage 'colleague to colleague' recognition by asking for nominations for our termly Viking Spirit Award which recognise our employees who have gone above and beyond.

There is a common sense of purpose and a shared sense of community which has never been as profoundly felt than across these two years of the COVID pandemic.  We are all here for the children and the staff are also here for each other, we are not just colleagues but we are also friends.

We have appointed Viking Wellbeing Champions across each of our schools. Our Viking Wellbeing Champions will form a committee of passionate and dedicated staff who take responsibility for ensure that our fellow colleagues voices continue to be heard and more importantly acknowledged. 


Financial:  In this current time, with the cost of living rising, we want our employees to be able to access the latest advice around their current financial management by regularly signposting updates via our staff communications.  We ensure that we provide the most wonderful pension schemes that allow staff to plan well for their future.  Our employer’s contribution rates are a whopping 22.5% for LGPS and 23.68% for Teachers Pensions.

We also ensure that our staff receive the very best service in terms of their pay by running our own in-house payroll service.  No other payroll provider will know and care as deeply as we do about our staff and our staff deserve nothing less than an outstanding service which is exactly what they get.  We are hugely responsive and issues are dealt with swiftly.

We also run monthly HR clinics to allow staff opportunities to speak about matters important to them such as their pensions or other pay related queries.  We don’t let inertia get in the way of problem-solving by providing plenty of opportunities to chat.

We run a Viking Spirit award system 6 times a year with colleagues being able to vote for their fellow colleagues who have gone above and beyond.  Staff receive a voucher for their contribution to the trust.


Career: We want to provide our staff with the very best career opportunities and CPD.  We know that our employees are hugely passionate in their own development because this positively impacts upon our children every single day.  We want to ensure that our staff have access to the best resources and training to fulfil their passion.  We know that employee aspiration is high as is thirst for learning and we ensure that we meet this demand.

As part of the HR Clinic we also run coaching sessions. Our HR Director, Lisa Blatchford, is also a qualified coach in following areas: Personal, Leadership, Executive, Stress Management, Corporate Wellbeing, Grief and Individual Mental Health and Wellbeing coaching and she is hugely passionate about supporting others in their journey towards self-actualisation.  Lisa runs coaching sessions every month to all staff looking to:

  • Achieve clarity around goal setting
  • Have help with difficulties such as time management, task management or conflict
  • Looking at professional growth
  • Change management
  • Improve their leadership skills
  • Work on a particular project
  • Have support with their new role
  • Have help with visioning or setting strategic direction

Lisa is a member of the following coaching associations: International Coaching Federation, European Council of Mentoring and Coaching and an affiliate member of the International Society of Coaching Psychology.

This opportunity is just one way we support the development of our people.  We also offer mentoring schemes, weekly PDM training and opportunities such as thought leadership by writing blogs for our websites.

We also provide our own in-house Viking Leadership Training for aspiring and experienced leaders.  There is where the real opportunity is felt working for the trust because we take time grow and cultivate our own amazing leaders.

We also work very closely with Schools Direct and Teach First to develop teachers in training.  More information can be found here: Teacher Training at Viking Academy Trust.

We also have an established apprenticeship programme working with local college providers to support apprenticeships in Supporting Teaching and Learning, IT, Administration and Sports Coaching.


Creating a healthy mindset is an investment in your overall wellbeing but so is working in an environment that deeply cares about you