At St Dennis Primary Academy, we are committed to promoting positive mental and physical wellbeing to all members of staff. Staff are supported in various ways to encourage and maintain a positive mental and physical wellbeing in and out of school. This includes providing a safe, aspiring and psychological working environment where staff can carry out their duties effectively. Staff also take part in team building activities that is in line with our relationship policy. Staff also take part in further activities outside of school that help towards maintaining a good work-life balance.
Within the school, we encourage an open culture in which all aspects of wellbeing are taken seriously in which staff are supported in order that they may seek help and support. The emotional wellbeing and regulating of staff is treated as a priority to prevent burnt-out, stress related absence, or leaving the profession through stress-related illness or feeling undervalued, blamed or shamed.
The nurturing of staff in such a way that they feel truly valued and emotionally regulated enough to be able to interact throughout the school day with positive social engagement rather than defensiveness.
At St Dennis Primary Academy we have split staff wellbeing down into 5 focussed areas that consist of: shared responsibility, the working environment, communication, workload management and tackling stigma. This is all supported by a whole school approach to ensure that all members of staff understand what is in place to build a positive working culture within the school.
The responsibility for wellbeing and positive mental health is shared across every member of the school. It is a long term and concerted effort with everyone fulfilling their responsibilities within the school environment. Everyone at St Dennis Primary Academy carries the responsibility for their own self-care and personal decision-making. Individuals also have a clear responsibility to look out for the wellbeing of others.
The working environment
At St Dennis Primary Academy, there is an active effort to ensure that all working areas are positive, transparent, and supportive in order to ensure staff are not stressed, unmotivated, isolated, or lacking in confidence. Staff have the option to use areas within the school that allows a positive space that includes posters and notices to remind staff that it is a work-free zone that could encourage friendly chat between staff members and reinforce wellbeing awareness.
For positive wellbeing to be maintained throughout staff, it is important that communication is streamlined, clear and not too overwhelming. At St Dennis Primary Academy, communication is an important aspect that is encouraged throughout the entire school. Personal and private communication between leadership teams and staff, as well as between individual members of staff, are compassionate and supportive. This includes frequently recognising efforts and achievements.
Unmanageable workloads are a big source of stress for staff and are consistently reported as having a negative effect on wellbeing. At St Dennis Primary Academy, workload is a priority for all members of staff to ensure that workload is actively managed to ensure that personal positive wellbeing is consistently maintained. This relies on staff voicing when workload is becoming overwhelming, and support is put in place to manage the work.
Tackling stigma and focussed support
At St Dennis Primary Academy, we have developed a culture where staff feel comfortable to speak up if they are struggling and ensure staff know they will not be judged or criticised for any concerns they raise about their wellbeing. An implemented ‘open door’ policy is maintained whereby staff are empathetic and understanding towards anyone who may be facing a struggle.
Mental health awareness is an important and embedded aspect of St Dennis Primary Academy that allows staff to become aware of their own mental health. This is then supported by access to further support outside of school and compassion. Staff are made aware of different CPD opportunities linked to mental health through notice boards in staff areas and further information provided through wellbeing champion.
Whole school approach
At St Dennis Primary Academy, staff wellbeing is addressed as a whole-school initiative ensuring all staff are taken into consideration. Through the wellbeing champion, all staff have access to appropriate guidance, support and tools that encouraged to be used to help maintain a positive mental and physical wellbeing.
As a school, we have implemented changes to the marking and feedback and homework policies. These have been designed to help streamline and simplify the school’s process that help to build a positive workplace culture. Further policies such as the TPAT Code of Conduct, Low Level Concerns and Whistleblowing are used to support and maintain a safe working environment.
Across the school, policies have been used and directed to clarify individual responsibilities and allow all members of staff to understand their roles within the school. This has allowed staff members to work effectively within their areas and progress within themselves. Throughout the school, all members of staff are able to thrive and enjoy coming into work.
We believe at St Dennis, that with appropriate strategies, guidance and support put in place staff can maintain positive mental and physical wellbeing.
Just a few things we do for staff wellbeing:
- Parent meetings in school time with no additional staff meeting
- Aim to minimise emails for whole staff to once a week with communication for the following week
- Monitoring and meeting plans given in advance at the beginning of every half term
- Well-being surveys for staff
- Open door SLT policy
- Peer support with new initiatives (peer coaching opportunities before monitoring)
- Marking policy to reduce workload
- Wellbeing days
- Subject leader time
- New laptops for staff
- PPA at home to enable maximum time
- No playground duties for teachers
- Performance management process that ties in with SDP so not an additional
- Involvement in policy creation e.g., curriculum drivers, values, marking and feedback, homework, behaviour etc
- Staff well-being champion in place