At the start of 2018 I’m sure many educators are starting to reflect on the year gone by; thinking what worked well and what could have been done better.
From having listened to colleagues around the world and been in the profession for over 20 years it is often the accumulation of the little things that lead to a school culture feeling unhealthy. For example: deluge of emails; getting in at 7.15am and out by 6pm; increasing class sizes; trying to follow varied assessment and marking policies; repetitive report writing; short exam marking turn around; marking at weekends; incessant meetings; increased lesson observations or unannounced learning walks; death by data analysis updates for management; long and late parents’ evenings with early starts the next day; another twilight Inset; after school tutoring; running after school clubs; prescriptive lesson formats and restrictive curriculums; reduced access to run school trips; reduced access to outdoor education; expensive and high sugar school canteen food still a problem; lack of consultation from management; hurting because of poor communication from managers; staff bullying; parent bullying; juggling child care and family dinner; sacrificed our own wellbeing and perhaps even that of our family – with our work/life balance clearly not tipping in our favour and oh ! THAT pay freeze many educators in the UK have had to endure.
But surely it does not have to be this way? Surely it is possible to achieve a whole school working environment where there is a culture of wellbeing throughout?
Many leading educators think it is possible. Many are showing courageous leadership and making changes and starting to lead the way. Many have a clear vision and are ready to make the changes – they just need senior leadership backing.
But what is stopping schools from building a culture of positive mental health and wellbeing in every school in the UK? Perhaps it is misunderstanding? lack of knowledge? knowing where to start? having the time to reflect, talk and brainstorm?
On the 7/1/18 there was an online ‘DG’ INSET for people to follow using this hashtag #cultureofwellbeingDGInset. Here you can find school educators sharing great practice taking place in schools, practical initiatives we should or could be trying out, sharing visions and ideas.
Below are a list of times people posted their contributions with the fabulous Executive Principal Patrick Ottley- O’Connor kicking off events at 8.30am. I have tried to hyperlink all the contributions here so you can simply click on them to read more. All contributors would love to hear from you and are happy to engage in debate. Some people may only pick up the thread and hashtag in a few weeks time, the good thing is this Digital INSET will ALWAYS be there for school leaders and educators to reflect on during the course of 2018.
It is never too late to start making those small changes that, when added up, make a BIG difference to the culture of wellbeing in our schools.
Finally, gratitude to all those contributed with blogs, comments and retweets. It was definitely one of the most inspiring INSETS I have ever attended.
8.30am – Patrick Ottley-O’connor – Call to arms: Strategy and Actions
8.45am – Julie Hunter – Internal Dialogues
9.00 – Amy Jeetley – Re-energise and reconnect
9.30 – Professor Jonathan Glazzard – Teacher mental health
10.00 – Dr Helen Woodley – The importance of hearing authentic teacher voice in schools
10.30 – Caro Fenice – Staff peer support & the power of relationships
10.45 – Sue Roffey – Smiles, Schools & Social Capital
11.00 – Jaz Ampaw-Farr – The Power of Everyday Heroes
11.30 – Dr Helen O’Connor – Classroom wellbeing and positive education
12.15 – Ian Eagleton – Recognising when your mental health isn’t OK and what to do about it
12.30 – Sue Cowley – ‘A culture of trust’ and the impact it has on wellbeing
1.00 – Alison Kriel – Being You
1.30 – Anni Poole – The melting pot of mental wealth & wellbeing of schools
2.00 – Roy Souter – Report writing & the wellbeing of the teacher
2.30 – Sue Webb – The world needs values-driven, ethical, courageous leaders
3.00 – Dr Asha Patel – Substance misuse and mental health
3.30 – Bukky Yusuf – Making time for your well being when you don’t have time
4.00 – Keri Haw – Cultivating kindness
4.30 – Elizabeth Wright – Character strengths for the staffroom
4.45 – Frederika Roberts – Helping schools thrive through positive relationships
5.30 – Natalie Wilcox – Well-being in tough financial times
6.00 – Ritesh Patel – Email, big fail.
6.15 – Lisa Fathers – Whole School , Whole Body, Whole Mind
6.30 – Mike Armiger – Mental health – shared language
7.00 – Hannah Wilson – Nurturing Hearts and Minds
7.30pm – Clare Erasmus – Involving parents and the wider school community