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How do we as leaders create the conditions for positive staff wellbeing and give this the priority it needs.
Looking after ourselves has never been more challenging, nor more important. For recovery to be effective, looking after ourselves is essential. However, we know it can be hard for leaders to prioritise and model this – other things can often seem to be more important.
However, we know poor staff wellbeing is a huge challenge in our profession – it is up to us as leaders to come up with solutions. We all know, and there is evidence to support, teachers who are ‘well’ are more effective in the classroom. Not only this, but students feed off the energy of the teacher, if we want positive student wellbeing, we need positive staff wellbeing. If we can create workspaces which encourage people to stay in our organisations, we will have better trained, more experienced and happy staff.
We firmly believe that, if we are to avoid tokenistic wellbeing strategies, we need to start with the leadership. Just as students take their cues from a teacher, teachers take theirs from the leadership. What does it say if the leadership are telling staff they need to look after their own wellbeing, but they themselves are burnt out? What message does a new, ambitious teacher get about what it takes to rise up the career ladder if the senior team is sacrificing their own wellbeing – it can quickly become a self-fulfilling cycle.