This page includes information about:
- why it is important to address staff wellbeing
- involving staff in developing a survey
- using a survey for future planning
Staff wellbeing is integral to promoting a whole-school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. In 2019 research by The Health and Safety Executive reported that that teaching staff and education professionals had the highest rates of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in Britain. Research has also found that teacher stress has an impact on children’s learning in primary schools.
In 2018, the Anna Freud Centre published ‘Ten Steps Towards School Staff Wellbeing’, based on a consultation with over 3,000 teachers and allied professionals. One of the steps recommended is for schools to monitor and measure staff wellbeing through an annual survey.
A confidential staff survey helps to measure and monitor progress and enables schools to focus on the tangible and practical actions they can take (see, for example, the image below, which shows the survey results from Peterhouse School Southport).
Survey from Peterhouse School Southport taken from ‘Ten Steps Towards Staff Wellbeing’.
Conducting and using a staff survey
If you want to conduct a staff wellbeing survey, you may want to consider the following activities:
- Encouraging staff participation in drawing up the survey – what questions would they like to see asked?
- Holding the staff survey periodically (annually, at a minimum) to explore what the key issues are when it comes to staff wellbeing and to monitor change over time.
- Allocating time for staff to complete the survey, at a scheduled meeting or INSET day. This shows commitment to staff wellbeing and will help maximise response rates.
- Reviewing response rates to measure how well staff have been engaged in the process.
- Sharing findings with staff and discussing them openly at a meeting. Allowing time for safe reflection and encouraging contributions from staff to identify both problems and solutions.
- Providing feedback to staff and governors – what were the findings, and what changes have been made in response to the findings?
- Considering how the findings can contribute to your school or college planning process.
Our colleagues in CORC and the Anna Freud Centre’s Evidence Based Practice Unit offer a staff wellbeing survey as part of their paid-for pupil measurement programme. The online staff survey uses validated tools to understand how staff are feeling. It asks questions about the ability and capacity of staff to support the children and young people in the school and explores aspects of school culture which may be affecting staff wellbeing. The staff survey can be completed alongside the Pupil Survey or on its own.
Your school report enables you to compare your staff team with others, helping you to better understand your team and identify strengths and challenges. The report is clear and easy to understand, ready to be shared with governors and staff.
As with the pupil wellbeing survey, this information is free, but we have to charge to cover our costs if you would like CORC to analyse the findings. See more under Step 3, ‘Understanding Need: Measuring wellbeing’.
This resource is based on the views of school staff who participated through our Schools in Mind learning network and those who responded to our Teacher Tapp survey. The Ten Steps Towards School Staff Wellbeing resource provides helpful materials and encourages schools and colleges to reflect; successfully promoting children’s mental health can only be achieved if schools and colleges giving staff wellbeing the consideration it deserves.
The Talking Toolkit from the HSE is designed to be used as a framework to help line managers have simple, practical conversations with school employees. The toolkit has six templates for different conversations, each with a different theme designed to encourage discussions about issues that may be causing work-related stress or about issues that could become future causes if not properly managed.
Ofsted has produced its own teacher wellbeing report which looks at how positive factors at school, such as culture and relationships with colleagues – contribute to teachers’ well-being. It also highlights negative factors, such as high workload, lack of work–life balance, concerns about resources and managing pupils’ behaviour.