24 July 2019
A new Wellbeing Advisory Group aims to help school and college staff look after their mental health.
Launched by the Department for Education (DfE), the Group is intended to promote what it describes as a real change in support of teachers’ wellbeing.
Comprising a total of 26 representatives from the education sector as well as from mental health and wellbeing organisations, it seeks to build on what Education Secretary Damian Hinds referred to earlier this year as the need to ensure that teachers are happy, motivated and well supported.
At the Group’s first meeting, Paul Farmer, of the mental health charity Mind, highlighted the importance of placing teachers’ wellbeing at the heart of schools’ and colleges’ decision-making.
Teachers and school staff must be listened to, he said, in order bring about a real change to staffroom culture.
Only by ensuring that teachers are well supported can we expect them to thrive and deliver the best outcomes for everyone – pupils, parents and the colleagues they work alongside – Mr Farmer told the meeting.
Describing the initiative as both timely and essential, Stuart Rimmer of East Coast College said that it will encourage exploration and action to address one of the sector’s most serious concerns.
For his part, the Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, said: “One thing that strikes me when I meet teachers in every school is their selflessness and their willingness to go above and beyond to help their pupils.”
However, he added, as with any important and rewarding job, life as a teacher brings its own challenges and pressures, and this new forum is set to play a crucial role in providing expert advice to help prioritise teachers’ mental health and wellbeing.