And so the plans for the summer holidays are beginning, if not already in place, costed (with the little funds available) and with full project plan published to all staff so they know exactly what will be done when and why … and yes, that is the Red Pigs display team flying overhead!
One of the things which happens every year is that you will have staff join and staff leave. If they are joining they will need a variety of things setting up for them and each school will have a slightly different checklist for this, passed around a variety of departments / teams to makes sure they have computer and email accounts, a timetable on SIMS (other MIS are available), a contract, CRB check has been done, etc … and much of this is communicated via the staff handbook and school policies / procedures.
However (you knew that was coming), does the handbook also include how you deal with staff who leave? Hand back your car pass and ID card? Clear out your pigeon hole? What about the IT systems? Handing back any device you have (laptop, mobile phone, etc)? Now, this is not going to get into a big discussion about IPR and whether you are entitled to take a heap of resources away with you … but yes, it might be nice if there was something formal about zipping up your home directory, etc and burning it onto a DVD for the member of staff who is leaving. It might be that they will do it themselves onto a USB stick … either way it might be worth including in there about how they have to check files for any personal data of staff or students as they will no longer have a right to take that (in fact it would be a breach of the Data Protection Act) … but this is all common sense stuff that is minutia … the thing most people are interested in is keeping in contact with others.
Email is often a bit of a sore point for some staff … in some schools the account is just deleted, no chance to move it, no chance to take emails off, no chance to take contacts off … but to try to manage this for some schools is not just as simple as setting up a mail client, pulling it all down and then closing it all down. It *will* take time to get stuff off and time means money I am afraid.
Some RBCs / LAs do have the ability to export a mailbox, or if you are moving schools to one in the same LA / RBC you might be able to take the mailbox with you … and it could be a choice you give to staff if they feel it is that important. It might just be a case of having to forward things onto another mailbox … but remember the comment above about personal data? That applies in emails too, so be very careful what goes where. You might need to have some documentation from the outgoing member of staff to say they have only transferred certain things.
But once all this is done what happens about the account? Well, depending on the role within the school you might think that you can be nice and just use the email system or the email filtering service to set up a rule which forwards any incoming emails to their new email address at their new school. Depending on your email solution this can be quite simple to do, and the same with email filtering solutions.
However (yes … another one), that is not always a good idea. So you could be left with two options … the first is to set an automated reply. It can say some thing like “Thank you for emailing [person’s full name] at [school name]. Unfortunately [person’s name] has now left [school name]. If you would like your email details passed on please contact [general enquiries email address or a dedicate email address for this] and we will pass your details on as soon as practicable.” I know it is a bit generic but if they person emailing is trying to contact the school it gives them a way of communicating, and if they are trying to contact a person it helps them with this. The school can then send the details of who has been in touch to the teacher who has left … and this can be done for a few months … a year max. If the teacher fails to say thank you or acknowledge the effort you are making then you can remove the rule sooner.
The other option is sometime contentious … you can redirect all the emails from staff who have left to a dedicated mailbox and a member of staff can check on a regular basis if there is anything which needs dealing with. This is important for accounts of folk like Headteachers, SENCO, Bursars who have been using a named email address rather than a role-based email address (eg firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com) to make sure nothing important is missed. If you are doing this then you need to tell that member of staff before they leave to ensure they inform all the people who may email them on a non-work basis that they have moved employers.
So, a few ideas about how you can be nice to staff when they leave by allowing them to make sure they don’t miss things on email. Although we live in a world of social networks and immediate access, many people would be surprised how often an old email address is still in an address book somewhere … and you can be sure that when you need to contact someone urgently, then this is the only contact you have.
I’ve just been reading a blog entry from James Marshall at Microsoft about Live@Edu which directly relates to the above and is well worth reading.