Not just teachers – wellbeing under threat for all education staff

Teaching staff are on the frontline of the effort to create a safe environment for learning, and the effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 while ensuring a high standard of education is weighing heavily on their wellbeing. But it doesn’t stop there. Everyone at your school is feeling the pressure and dealing with the changes, from facilities and maintenance staff, to senior leaders.

The impact on management teams is already being felt in Scotland, where schools opened earlier than their English counterparts. The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said in early September that the pressure being put on senior leadership teams, headteachers and deputy headteachers was ‘excessive and unsustainable’, with potentially severe repercussions on wellbeing.

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Lorraine McBride, convener of the EIS Headteachers’ and Depute Headteachers’ Network, said: “The challenge of having to plan entirely new methods of educational delivery, then re-plan again at short notice as a result of changes in government policy, has heaped huge amounts of pressure on school management teams across the country.”

She added: “The levels of additional management and HR functions that SMTs have faced have been quite incredible. As one headteacher told the meeting, he was required to carry out 30 individual risk assessments in the week before the school reopened, which he was committed to doing but had to do without any extra support being provided to him.”

Ever-changing legislation in the run up to a new school year put many leadership professionals under stress before the school year even began, and now that schools are open full time, the pressure on leaders and their teaching staff is considerable. This level of constant pressure presents a very real risk of staff absences growing exponentially, not only as the risk of contracting Covid-19 increases, but also because of stress-related illnesses and burnout.

How to reduce the risk of burnout

Staff of all levels need to feel like their needs are being considered and that they can take their own steps towards improving their wellbeing. While Covid-19 restrictions are putting strains on time, allowances should still be made to give teachers breaks and safe spaces to enjoy them.

For managers, having the right resources not only to support wellbeing for staff but also for themselves is vital. Investing in wellbeing training courses which offer practical advice and relaxing activities is a sure way to give staff the tools to support their own mental health. Our Wellbeing First training package does exactly that, allowing all members of staff to access engaging training courses whenever they need them.

Find out more about our Wellbeing First staff training package, which is available free for all staff working at your education institution. Sign up today to access a range of courses in stress management, resilience, work-life balance and more.