School Improvement: Question of the Month – March

A focus on wellbeing

Do staff members feel they are able to take advantage of the
wellbeing initiatives and support offered by leaders and governance? (PP311)

This month’s question makes no excuse for focussing on the wellbeing of all staff in our schools. Although this question focuses on all staff, the wellbeing of leaders at every level is essential to the wellbeing of staff.

I will be exploring 3 pillars of wellbeing and I hope these pillars can build confidence in any new wellbeing initiatives that you may be considering implementing in your schools.

Pillar 1
The Department for Education

The DfE Charter is the first of my three pillars of wellbeing this month. The charter exhibits a real commitment to support the wellbeing of everyone in schools. The resources clearly show a desire to find out about the wellbeing of school staff and leaders, while also suggesting and making a variety of systems and processes available to suit the needs of different school types and environments.

In May 2021 the DfE introduced its education staff wellbeing charter with very relevant resources and surveys and in November 2021 the main document ‘The Education Staff Wellbeing Charter’ was published. The latest update was on January 15.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/education-staff-wellbeing-charter

Pillar 2

The second pillar of well-being comes from Ofsted’s response to the prevention of future deaths report. The key points were:

Ofsted training
‘This training is not just about spotting signs of distress, but also about how we work to reduce anxiety while carrying out our crucial duty.’ ‘Going forward, this training will form an integral part of how we induct and develop our staff.’

New policies and practices for inspections
Safeguarding, pausing inspections, confidentiality, complaints, and communication are all areas where actions can lead to improvements.

Learning from the report
An independent expert will support the review and responses of the report, while also defining all the circumstances in which it will be commissioned.

The big listen
Ofsted will seek the views of parents, children, learners, and professionals within all the sectors they regulate.

Ofsted hope that this change in their approach will ensure that Head Teachers feel confident knowing that inspectors will always treat them with professionalism, courtesy, empathy and respect.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prevention-of-future-deaths-report-regulation-28-ofsteds-response

Pillar 3
Our dedicated school leaders and staff.

Let us all believe that we can now review our current wellbeing policies and procedures in an environment, where awareness of the importance of staff and leader’s wellbeing (including that of Headteachers) can be allowed to relate directly to the wellbeing of our pupils, knowing that wellbeing: ‘A state of complete physical and mental health that is characterised by high-quality social relationships.’ (DfE Expert Advisory Group on Education Staff Wellbeing, 2021)

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/6194eb37d3bf7f0551f2d1a5/DfE_Education_Workforce_Welbeing_Charter_Nov21.pdf

Content Development and Monitoring

John Croghan M.Ed. BA. CertEd. has over 50 years of experience in education, as a teacher, leading learning in classrooms from EYFS to Y11, as well as a leader and primary headteacher.  He enjoyed his role supporting Every Child Matters in schools and has advised and supported schools across the West Midlands, as well as leading OFSTED inspections.   He is currently a school consultant, mentor, and governor. 

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