There is no doubt that teaching is an incredibly rewarding job! But it is important to recognise that working in education is also a challenge, where resilience is often tested daily.
For many teachers, the past two years have been the most stressful in their careers. According to NASUWT– 27% of teachers consulted a doctor during the pandemic for support with their mental and physical health due to workplace pressures and demands.
Despite widespread perceptions that the pandemic is over, schools and teachers continue to take on tremendous pressure and responsibility at the frontline, supporting young people in recovering from the traumas of the last 20 months. Indeed, the 2021 Teacher Wellbeing Index, reports that overall teacher mental health is continuing to decline;
- 77% experience symptoms of poor mental health
- Teachers have the highest levels of work-related stress compared to other professions
- 42% think their school’s culture has a negative impact on their wellbeing
- 54% have considered leaving the sector due to pressures on their mental health
Good staff wellbeing is essential for creating a mentally healthy school environment. There is a direct correlation between teacher wellbeing and student attainment – happy, motivated teachers who enjoy their work produce results. Teachers can also have as much influence on a children’s happiness as they do on their academic outcomes. High levels of staff wellbeing also reduces absence and overall costs of recruitment.
It really is a no brainer for schools to put staff first. And, this must go beyond ‘tick box’ initiatives like wellbeing days or quick shouts outs, to bring about a shift in school culture.
The Department for Education have created A Staff Wellbeing Charter to help schools demonstrate their commitment to the wellbeing and mental health of everyone in education. The document, created in collaboration with Ofsted, mental health charities, schools and education organisations, outlines key commitments that help schools create an improved working environment for all staff members.
One of the key commitments within the Charter is to measure and evaluate staff wellbeing. With the largest repository of validated surveys, we want to help schools do just that and our platform provides access to The HSE Work-related stress scale, recognised within the charter.
The survey consists of 35 items that ask about 'working conditions' related to the seven stressor categories included in the UK Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards:
- Demands - Includes issues like workload, work patterns, and the work environment.
- Control - How much say the person has in the way they do their work.
- Support - Includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues.
- Relationships - Includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
- Role - Whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that the person does not have conflicting roles.
- Change - How organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.
This scale provides schools with some fantastic insight into levels of anxiety, happiness, worthwhileness, life satisfaction, and job satisfaction. These insights can help schools drive positive change and make a shift in school culture that brings meaningful change to their whole community.
To help more schools get onboard and confidently sign the charter, we have created a FREE paper-based version of the survey, which you can download - Here