Leanne Poole, Accommodation & Travel Manager and WOW Award recipient tells us how…
After her recent win recent win of the first ever Bright World WOW Award, we catch up with our very own Accommodation & Travel Manager Leanne Poole to talk about her vital role in safeguarding international students on our Guardianship programme and to find out just how she has helped to coordinate a flawless September Arrivals.
Autumn Arrivals is the largest event on the calendar for The Bright World Guardianship team, with 2018, the biggest we have coordinated since the company was founded in 2000. Hundreds of overseas students all travelling on the same day, from airports nationwide, to their host family or straight to school to begin a new term. Sharing the responsibility of our 24-hour Emergency phone with her colleague, Fiona Williamson, Leanne helped to ensure that our 2018 Autumn Arrivals was the best yet, with only several minor issues.
After joining the Bright World Accommodation & Travel Team back in November 2014, Leanne has proven herself to be an invaluable member of the Bright World team. Her varied role ensures that our students are not only successfully placed with caring, fully screened Host Families during their Half terms and Exeat weekends but that they travel to and from the airport safely, efficiently and without delay.
BW: Congratulations on winning a WOW Award Leanne! How does it feel to win our first ever award?
LP: It felt great to be recognised for the job we have done. The best part is knowing that they have all arrived back safely and that that was all because of us.
BW: In your opinion, what has made this Autumn’s Arrival the most successful yet?
LP: Well other than one or two students who couldn’t immediately locate their driver at the Airport’s Arrivals, we had no issues and all student journeys went ahead as planned. I think that with the number of students travelling and the variations in journeys this is a great achievement for our team.
BW: How do you prepare for such a large-scale Event?
LP: We check absolutely every detail, down to the flight details, addresses and plan very far in advance where possible. We also plan months in advance.
BW: What have you done differently this year to help improve our Transport service for this academic school year?
LP: We have changed the way we do our taxi journey checks. We also have two main checks a week and then I often do a daily check. We now have a tick box system and if there are any changes made to journeys, then we are alerted so that we can inform the parents immediately. It is really important we are aware of a change in Bright World driver, especially if the child is travelling as an Unaccompanied Minor, as the airport will require contact details.
BW: How important are Bright World drivers to the running of the guardianship programme? How are they selected?
LP: We have great relationships with our drivers and they are really part of the team. We trust them and they will often work with us if the details of flights don’t match. It is amazing how many clients give us an incorrect flight number so we are now asking drivers to be more involved in the checking of data before they confirm the journey.
Jenny (Bright World’s Safeguarding & Operations Manager) is now leading the recruitment of our transfer companies which is quite an involved process. She is Safer Recruitment trained and ensures they each have an enhanced, clear DBS Check. Successful drivers, are provided with a login to our BLink portal which contains important documents such as The Bright World Drivers' Charter, our Safeguarding Policy and our Transport Policy. They also have access to details of an online safeguarding training course that we recommend that they sit. With their login to our Portal, Blink, they have 24/7 online access to data so they can review their journeys easily and update us with changes of details.
Leanne is now busy finalising arrangements for the exeat weekend and half term with her colleagues in the Guardianship Department. The next WOW award winner will be announced following next weekend's Exeat in early October. The awards recognise the importance of thanking our hardworking staff throughout the year and gives us a chance to stop and breathe for a minute to look back and congratulate everyone before the cycle starts all over again.
If you would like to find out more about our Transport service for students on our UK Guardianship programme then contact us today.