What difference has a focus on wellbeing made?

This year we have put the wellbeing of staff and children at the centre of our School Improvement Plan. In this short blog post I’ll be talking about our staff wellbeing work.

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Some of the actions we have taken to improve staff wellbeing this year include:

  • More consultation about changes to the way we do things
  • Changes to PPA time to give you more time working as a year team
  • Allocated time in PDMs to carry out admin tasks and keep working environments looking good
  • Saying ‘thank you’ publically, for example on the Shout Out board
  • Leaders taking account of wellbeing before asking you to do anything
  • Adding wellbeing advice to staff notes
  • Restricting ‘all staff’ emails to mainly staff notes
  • Wellbeing time allocated the latest non-pupil day
  • Changed the marking policy to reduce time spent marking
  • Been very public about the importance of wellbeing
  • EH4MH training and consultation time

I thought the best way to find out if these actions have made a difference was to ask the staff, so we carried out a follow up questionnaire. We will be asking all staff groups before the end of term, but I started with the teachers to get some feedback in time for #wellbeingdgmeet.

The actions that have made the biggest difference in the opinion of teachers are:

  • Staff meeting time allocated for carrying out admin tasks and keeping classrooms looking good
  • Leaders taking account of staff wellbeing before asking teachers to do anything new
  • ‘Wellbeing’ time allocated during non-pupil days
  • Changing the marking policy to reduce time spent marking
  • More consultation with staff before making changes to how we do things

None of the actions we took have made wellbeing worse (thank goodness) but the things that have made the least difference are:

  • Saying ‘thank you’ publicly on the ‘Shout Out’ board in the staffroom
  • Adding wellbeing advice to staff notes
  • Restricting ‘all staff’ emails to a weekly bulletin

It seems clear that although wellbeing awareness initiatives are important, the thing that makes the biggest difference to our teachers involve giving them time to carry out their jobs properly.

If we want our teachers to complete an assessment form or to give feedback about something, we do this at our weekly staff meeting. We allocate staff meeting time for teachers to add data  on to our online system, and put aside a staff meeting each half term for teachers to work on the learning environment in their classroom.

We want our teachers to give good feedback to children, so we don’t waste their time asking them to write long, detailed comments in children’s books that the children either don’t read or can’t act upon. One of our most experienced teachers – the delightful @debhughes56 – commented that the reduction in written marking is ‘extremely positive, has made a huge difference, and has had the most impact’. 

The next step will be sustaining the work we have done this year, and looking at ways we can reduce the time burden of our annual reports. A group of teachers have come up with a proposal for this, and it will be interesting  to see what difference it makes.

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3 thoughts on “What difference has a focus on wellbeing made?

  1. A fabulous blog. I remember seeing your school development plan on twitter and it blew me away. Inspirational. Great that you have assessed evidence of impact. The data will drive your initiatives. The outcomes completely resonate with me. Every little bit helps but at the end of the day TIME is the most precious commodity of all. Love the way you profile it so heavily too.

    Like

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