This page includes information about:
- reflecting with staff on wellbeing
- embedding a plan for staff mental health and wellbeing
We all know that teaching can be a stressful job. The Health and Safety Executive defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’. The UCL Institute of Education finds that 1 in 20 teachers report having a long-lasting mental health problem.
High levels of stress cause suffering and affect work performance and job retention. Employers have a duty of care to their employers. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. Encouraging staff to reflect on their experience, outlining actions you will be taking to address their needs, and embedding your actions in school planning and strategy can play a key role in developing your whole-school or college approach to wellbeing.
Reflecting with staff on wellbeing
Our report, ‘Ten Steps Towards School Staff Wellbeing’, is based on a consultation with school staff. It includes a series of ‘thinking about’ sections based on the consultation findings which provide a basis for reflection to identify how staff can be best supported. The themes are:
- Culture and ethos
- Accessing support
- Working with pupils who are experiencing difficulties
- Workload and life balance
- Embedding staff wellbeing
- Monitoring staff wellbeing
Source: Thinking about accessing staff support. From Ten Steps Towards School Staff Wellbeing.
These themes can be used as prompts for discussing wellbeing with staff and a basis for developing a school policy on promoting staff wellbeing.
Our Ten Steps Towards School Staff Wellbeing resource also outlines ten questions, based on consultation responses from school staff. Schools and colleges may wish to bear these in mind when approaching staff wellbeing. For example:
- Is there a staff mental health lead or champion who is responsible for coordinating the school’s approach to staff mental wellbeing, and ensuring it remains on the agenda?
- How does the ethos of the school promote openness about mental wellbeing and encourage staff to feel comfortable sharing concerns?
- Are there opportunities for supervision to help staff feel confident they are taking the right decisions when supporting pupils experiencing complex issues (including safeguarding and mental health, for instance)?
Embedding a plan
With actions in place, it is to embed these changes so that they become part of the school culture. Here are some ways you can do this:
- If you have a school mental health policy, review it to check that it supports staff mental health
- Hold regular meetings on staff wellbeing and discuss questions raised in the ‘thinking about’ sections of the Ten Steps Towards School Staff Wellbeing.
- Collate the findings from these discussions and identify practical steps forward.
- Embed these steps in your strategic plan.
Claire Ely speaks about the importance of school staff looking after their own wellbeing, and how senior leaders can support this.
This booklet has been developed with our mental health experts, and aims to give school staff and Senior Leadership Teams some simple guidance and good practical examples where schools have successfully implemented wellbeing strategies.
This resource is based on the views of school staff who participated through our Schools in Mind and our Teacher Tapp survey. It provides some helpful materials and encourages schools to reflect that if they want to make a success of promoting children’s mental health, this can only be achieved by giving the staff wellbeing the consideration it deserves.