5 Crucial Steps to Get You Started with the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter

What is Staff Wellbeing? 

Many of us are now familiar with the term ‘staff wellbeing’; however, it is a topic which has previously been labelled as ‘fluffy’ and often consisted of bolt-on giveaways which haven’t always supported staff appropriately. 

My teaching career began back in 2011 when I studied as a PGCE student. My intense and vigorous teacher training was condensed into a one-year program which resulted in gaining QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). It felt as though I had blinked and within seconds, I found myself in the classroom teaching a full timetable whilst trying to work out what type of teacher I was going to be.  

My experience of staff wellbeing almost 10 years ago wasn’t great… in fact, I feel it was non-existent. It wasn’t really something I heard being talked about in staff briefings or senior leader meetings. I didn’t know about any wellbeing initiatives available to me. But, then again, I didn’t really feel confident enough to ask. Being 22 years old, teaching a full timetable and juggling my workload with behaviour challenges, I felt like every day was a marathon and my feet would never touch the ground. I was one of those newly qualified teachers who got away and that is one of the reasons why I went on to work closely with schools supporting them with staff retention and wellbeing.

Positive staff wellbeing should have a caring culture as its foundation and be embedded within the practices and policies in place. It is important that staff feel heard and have a platform to voice how they really feel within the workplace without any backlash or fear. 

Your staff are your most valuable and costly tool within the school. Therefore, it is crucial that you get staff wellbeing right and it doesn’t become part of a ‘tick list’. 

I have been working with many schools identifying their challenges and barriers to staff wellbeing. There is a long list but something I frequently hear is the fact that SLT are not quite sure where to start. It is often difficult to lay out an Action Plan and decide where to place your school’s focus, especially as wellbeing covers mental, physical, social, and financial health. Often, I will hear that the thought of getting started is quite daunting and wellbeing has been described as a ‘minefield’. It was no shock to me that when the DFE Charter was released this year there were many who were confused about how to achieve it.  

What is the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter? 

This was created by the Education Sector in 2021 to promote and prioritise staff wellbeing in schools. This enables schools to commit to their wellbeing strategies whilst meeting the 11 commitments designed by the DFE and Ofsted. The aim of the charter is to ultimately embed a wellbeing-focused culture, retain talent and encourage more people to consider working in schools. If we choose to ignore this then we could face losing many high-quality education professionals. 

How to get started? 

Senior leaders are extremely busy and education staff are time poor therefore the last thing schools need is additional workload and stress. The charter may appear to be complex due to the 11 commitments outlined but there are easy ways to get you started on your wellbeing journey. 

I suggest that you always identify what your barriers are to begin with and then the rest becomes a lot more straightforward. 

One very important thing to remember is that wellbeing can be measured. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what you are fixing to begin with. We have produced 5 steps to get you going:

1) Survey: Find out what your staff think about the support on offer to them. Get a true reflection of how they feel by asking them a set of anonymous questions. Ensure SLT and management answer these questions to evaluate any discrepancies between groups of staff. Read our blog ‘3 Reasons Your School Will Benefit From A Staff Survey’ to find out more about the benefits of conducting staff surveys.

2) Analyse: The responses to your survey will form your starting point. Analyse the responses and identify any key trends. This will highlight where you need to place your focus on staff wellbeing e.g. you may find your school’s strength is mental health yet is weaker for physical health. 

3) Actions: Your findings can be used to create a set of actions which can be entered into a Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan. 

4) Timeline: Once the actions are within a plan you can give yourself a timeline on when you want to achieve each of these objectives and lay out how you will achieve these. 

5) Monitor: You should measure the success of your actions little and often always monitoring improvements. After a short while you should survey your staff again to see if they feel differently due to the actions you have taken. 

The Wellbeing Team at Kent-Teach are working closely with schools to support them with embedding their staff wellbeing. Our Wellbeing Program aligns with the DFE Wellbeing Charter, making it simpler to approach. To find out more about the Wellbeing Charter and how we can support you please download our ‘How to Achieve the Education Staff Wellbeing charter’ guide here. 

If you’d like to speak to myself or one of our Wellbeing Advisors, please contact wellbeing@staffcareservices.org.uk

If you liked this blog, why not read our blog post ‘4 Ways to Include Staff Wellbeing in Your INSET Day Agenda’ next? 

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