“When you prioritise wellbeing and you do invest in it you see the ramifications across the entire school, in staff retention rates, in staff happiness but alsocin pupil attendance and pupils’ learning – it impacts on everything.” - Senior Assistant Headcteacher, ARH Primary.

Staff wellbeing and student wellbeing are not mutually exclusive – one affects the other. There has been a big push recently to improve the wellbeing of our young people and promote good mental health. At Worth-it, we believe wellbeing should be at the heart of every school or setting – not just the wellbeing of the students but the wellbeing of the whole school community.

Whole School Model for Wellbeing and Mental Health
Whole School Approach to Wellbeing and Positive Mental Health

Schools and other educational settings have a duty of care towards all their staff as well as their students. It can be easy, especially in secondary schools and FE colleges, to get caught up in academia, and swept along by the tidal wave of exam pressure that comes with this – staff can be pushed to their limits trying to do their best for the young people they are teaching. We know teaching is avocation. It is not a job. And it doesn't stop when the bell rings at the end of the day.

All staff in schools and other educational settings need to feel supported, just as students do, to know that there is someone to go to, someone to listen if they haven’t had the best night's sleep, or something has happened in their personal life which is zapping their energy. Staff and teachers need a toolkit for wellbeing and resilience too.

Looking after the wellbeing of teaching and non-teaching staff helps them feel valued and more motivated. If staff are happy within their place of work, children and young people will pick up on this, feel happier and interact with those adults in a more positive way. In turn this improved behaviour impacts the staff in a positive way and reduces stress. School staff with high levels of wellbeing are less likely to take time off sick with stress, fatigue, or anxiety and, as stress lowers immunity they are less likely to have time off with other ailments too. If staff know their wellbeing is prioritised within their school or setting, they are much more likely to seek support an earlier stage if they’re experiencing overwhelm.

“I’ve never worked somewhere you feel so appreciated and you feel like your voice is being heard. This makes you want to work better and harder.” - Teacher from ARH Primary.
“Because I know I will be supported with my wellbeing it makes me feel appreciated which impacts on my teaching – if my wellbeing is good then my teaching is going to be better.” - Teacher from ARH Primary.

Research (1) has shown that developing the wellbeing of staff develops student wellbeing and vice versa. Happier young people who feel like they belong in a school are much more likely to attend regularly, display positive behaviour, participate in their lessons, build more positive relationships with peers and teachers, and contribute positively to the school community, helping make the school a happier place for themselves, for staff and for other students. Staff who have fewer behavioural issues to deal with are much more likely to get increased levels of joy and satisfaction from their role.

Our whole school system for positive mental health offers a step by step process, saving you time, energy and stress, enabling you to audit, plan and take action in developing your whole school approach.  Our system framework helps you figure out your unique starting point and what is already working well in your school.

{whole school system graphic here}

“Over the last 5 to 8 years we were losing staff at an alarming rate. However, since our wellbeing project and since we’ve taken on board the Worth-it training we have very high staff retention: we lose very few staff now and have a lot of people wanting to join our staff, which is amazing.” - Head teacher, ARH Primary.

Our whole school approach is based upon the SEARCH (2).pathways to wellbeing: strengths, emotional management, attention and awareness, relationships, coping, and habits and goals.

SEARCH Positive Education Framework for Wellbeing
SEARCH Framework for Wellbeing

Our whole school system is a joined up, strategic approach in which wellbeing underpins all aspects of school life. It’s proactive and preventative, enabling everyone to build strategies for wellbeing. Staff are trained to develop and lead their own wellbeing initiatives by giving them a bit of time to come together as a team and through prioritising what really matters to them and action planning solutions to address these areas. 

Feeling part of a team where you know where to access support is crucial to the wellbeing of teachers and of students. We can think of a school as one big team all working together and supporting each other to promote wellbeing and reduce the risk of mental ill health. We realise that to embed initiatives can seem a daunting task, but Worth-it are here to support you and offer a flexible and adaptable approach to develop wellbeing in your school or setting.

Take a look at our free example course, produced in collaboration with ARH Primary, to find out more about whole school wellbeing and how it impacts school outcomes and children.

Need support and training to develop wellbeing in your school?

Join our Wellbeing Club for School Mental Health and Wellbeing Leads. Our DfE approved online membership where you can access on demand, courses, resources and support to develop whole school positive mental health and wellbeing today. Click here to join and find out more.

References:

1.   https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285631404_Pupil_wellbeing_-Teacher_wellbeing_Two_sides_of_the_same_coin

2.   SEARCH: A Meta-Framework and Review of the Field of Positive Education L. Waters1 & D. Loton International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology (2019) 4:1–46 https://doi.org/10.1007/s41042-019-00017-4

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