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 found that 1 in 20 teachers reported having a long-lasting mental health problem, and a recent survey carried out for Education Support’s Teacher Wellbeing Index found that 77% of education staff experienced symptoms of poor mental health due to their work.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a lasting impact on the mental health of education professionals. This article from NASUWT outlines the increased work-related stress on teachers since the start of the pandemic.
Employers have a duty of care to their employees. 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 ways to support 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 our ‘Ten ways to support school staff wellbeing’ resource.
These themes can be used as prompts for discussing wellbeing with staff, and a basis for developing a school or college 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 decided, it is necessary to embed these changes so that they become part of the school or college 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 ways to support school staff wellbeing resource
- 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 resource provides helpful guidance and encourages schools and colleges to reflect. Successfully promoting children’s mental health can only be achieved if schools and colleges give staff wellbeing the consideration it needs and deserves.
Pin up this poster in staff rooms, offices and toilets to remind school staff about the importance of supporting their mental health - and some simple ways that they can boost their wellbeing.
Information about the impact of racism on school staff, and guidance for schools on how to foster a safe and supportive environment.
Create an account and login to access and update your personalised 5 Steps action plan
More information about 5 Steps and easy to follow instructions
Find out more about our trainings for Schools and FE Colleges
Schools that successfully implemented the 5 Steps Framework
Access videos and materials from our 5 Steps seminars