Staff wellbeing: working together to support each other
Staff are our most important resource and are valued, supported and encouraged to develop personally and professionally within a learning and caring community. We believe there is a relationship between healthy, positive staff and school improvement and are committed to our duties as an employer to ensure policies and practices are sensitive to staff wellbeing.
Bedminster Down’s practices aim to support staff health and minimise the harm from stress and to create a school ethos where all staff feel valued, with respect, empathy and honesty forming the cornerstones of all school relationships.
Leaders at all levels take wellbeing seriously: staff wellbeing is an area on the school improvement plan and an item at our weekly senior leadership team meeting. Staff voice is regularly considered alongside the work of the staff wellbeing group which meets every six weeks and has representation from the whole staff body. The group agrees its own agenda, minutes are published and key points are highlighted to staff in the staff bulletin. The group also organises regular staff social events.
We invest in staff welfare through:
A well-appointed staff room that provides free tea and coffee throughout the day.
Opportunities for all staff to socialise and relax, through parties and social events.
Supportive services such as a counselling programme to provide professional help and confidential stress counselling both either face-to–face sessions or telephone conversations.
Responding sensitively and flexibly to external pressures that impact on staff lives whilst at the same time ensuring the efficient running of the school.
A 24/7 helpline offering advice on legal, financial and family concerns is available.
Maintaining contact with staff when they are absent for long periods, sending gifts and cards and a generous absence policy allowing up to 5 days pro-rata for carers’ leave each academic year.
Responding sensitively to all requests for attendance at funerals.
Clinical supervision is provided to staff who work closely with our most vulnerable students.
Creating a culture that recognises and celebrates staff contributions and rewards us when we go the extra mile.
We encourage and invest in staff health and fitness through:
Online health assessments.
A 24/7 helpline is available to speak to a qualified GP and prescriptions which can be delivered to home or school.
Discounted rates at a wide variety of fitness clubs across the UK.
We support staff wellbeing through our school organisation:
Team meetings provide time to share resources and lesson plans, and teams have greatly improved schemes of learning to aid teacher planning time.
New staff are supported with a thorough and supportive induction programme.
A welcoming staff room is sensitive to issues of race, gender, homophobia, culture and disability.
Every new member of staff has a buddy to answer questions and provide informal support
Effective communication aims to support staff via:
A printed diary, an electronic calendar, a weekly bulletin and briefings to reduce email traffic to all staff.
A range of strategies to involve staff in school decision making processes and regular line management meetings to provide time for real dialogue around any concerns and issues. No concern is too small to be taken seriously, and everyone has someone they can speak to – we believe in an open culture where staff feel encouraged and able to speak about pressures and where staff are empowered, through training and support, to deal positively with stressful incidents.
Very limited ‘all staff emails’ to ensure staff receive emails pertinent to them
We aim to reduce workload through:
Keeping our focus on what really makes the difference aims to reduce unnecessary workload
Lesson observations are to see everyday practice and are focused on supporting staff development – no expectation for lesson plans and we don’t grade lessons.
Feedback is to improve student progress – we focus on what has impact to support students
Effective leadership aims to empower staff through:
Supportive leadership teams that ensure school improvement reflects the ideas from the whole staff body.
Senior and middle leadership are very visible at all times, empowering staff to own behaviour.
Open door Senior Leadership – no concern is ever too small!