Planning Your September Staff Inset Day? – 4 Ways to Include Staff Wellbeing in Your Agenda.

With the summer holidays in touching distance, school leaders’ thoughts have naturally turned to the new term ahead and this includes planning staff inset days.

Staff inset days are a vital tool that enable all staff to come together, share thoughts, best practice, and receive important updates. An inset day is also a great opportunity to focus on staff wellbeing ensuring all staff are aware of the school’s wellbeing policies, action plans and support services.

Whilst each school will have different wellbeing requirements, your staff wellbeing session should address some common areas. These include: 

1. How your school evaluates and measures staff wellbeing.

Many schools have introduced a staff wellbeing survey to help understand the key issues in their school and measure the effectiveness of wellbeing initiatives/policies. 

By openly sharing staff feedback, staff feel more engaged and able to influence their working environment. This leads to increased motivation and productivity evidenced in research conducted by Salesforce which found that among workers who felt their voice was heard, 73 percent say that they were empowered to perform their best work. While it is great to highlight positive feedback, remember it is equally important to share any negative feedback, as this simply reflects frustrated employees who are looking for change.

Starting your wellbeing session by evaluating your current position gives all staff the opportunity to have a voice in decision making and shape the overall wellbeing strategy for your school. 

If you haven’t yet introduced a staff wellbeing survey, your staff inset day can also act as the perfect opportunity to complete this. Surveys can be completed anonymously and do not require a significant amount of time. If you would like to find out more please speak to the Kent-Teach Wellbeing Advisors or read our article 3 Reasons Your School Will Benefit From a Staff Survey.


2. Discuss your long-term strategy to improving staff wellbeing.

The worst mistake we can all make is to ask for feedback and then do nothing with it. The feedback provided should be used to establish a Wellbeing Policy and Wellbeing Action Plan.

Your Wellbeing Policy provides a framework which your school can adapt and use to encourage working practices which improve staff wellbeing. It will provide clear guidance on your school’s commitment to staff wellbeing and ensures staff know how to access support.

Alongside your Wellbeing Policy sits a Wellbeing Action Plan. This can be a stand-alone plan or form part of an existing school development plan. A Wellbeing Action Plan should be a ‘living’ document that continually evolves based on the specific needs of your school and staff. The Action Plan sets measurable objectives based around your staffs’ physical, mental, social, and financial wellbeing. 

In your wellbeing session check that staff are aware of your policy and action plan. Discuss the objectives you have set yourself as a school for the new term and academic year ahead.

If you don’t have a Wellbeing Policy or Action Plan, why not set them as your first objectives to complete in the new term ahead?


3. Raise awareness of the support available for your staff.

Staff may need to access support for a variety of reasons, and this may vary from non-specialist support to specialist support.

Non specialist support could include peer to peer, line manager and SLT support, conversations with Mental Health First Aiders and signposting to support tools and helplines. Specialist support may include referrals to Occupational Health or an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to access specific therapies or counselling.

It is important that the support available to staff takes a holistic approach and considers staffs’ physical, mental, social, and financial wellbeing. Your staff survey and Wellbeing Action Plan will help you identify any gaps in support that you may need to consider addressing for your staff. 

Use your wellbeing session to discuss how staff can access support and what is available to them.


4. Give staff support to allow them to take responsibility for their own wellbeing.

Mirroring the sentiment in the Department for Education Staff Wellbeing Charter, it is important you empower staff to take ownership of their own wellbeing and ensure staff are familiar with the different dimensions of wellbeing. Education on wellbeing can take many forms in your wellbeing session and will be time dependent. You may wish to:

Deliver a presentation on the 4 Pillars of Wellbeing.

Commit to regular Wellbeing Bulletins and newsletters.

Ask your staff to share ideas and ways they prioritise self-care.

Signpost to apps focused on Wellbeing 

Create a Wellbeing booklet/toolkit giving staff information.

Download the Kent-Teach Staff Helpline poster and share with staff.

If time allows you can also bring in guest speakers focused on specific wellbeing pillars. From nutritionists, ideas to increase daily activity, pension and financial advisors, resilience, and positive mindset training there are plenty of speakers available. 

By covering off these four areas in a wellbeing session, you will be delivering a valuable message to your staff. You are communicating that improving staff wellbeing is high on your agenda and the whole school will be holding themselves accountable to create a supportive and nurturing workplace in which staff can thrive.

If you need any support in planning a wellbeing session for staff please contact your Kent-Teach Wellbeing and Retention advisors on 03000 410203 or email kent.teach@cantium.solutions. For lots of helpful articles and guidance to improve staff wellbeing visit our Wellbeing Hub.

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