Ofsted and staff wellbeing Free article: How to prepare staff for an Ofsted inspection Free article: COVID 19: Supporting student mental health remotely Free article: Mental health and behaviour: updated guidance Free article: What to expect from Ofsted in 2019 Free article: Improving teacher recruitment and retention: part 1 Free article: Get ready to win strategic school improvement funding Reputation management for schools Experience shared: Effective mentoring Nurture groups and parental engagement Tackling bullying in schools - part one Aggression at work: Managing yourself and others Managing difficult conversations The art of influence: Creating the best outcome Change management and conflict Managing anxiety at work Interpreting data for 2017 performance Free article: Ofsted inspection of SRE provision: Getting it right Free article: Know your strengths Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectation Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence Free article: HR and the successful school: A case study Free article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress Free article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review Free article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement Free article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement Free article: Transforming a failing school Free article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision Free article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing Free article: The latest developments in education - January 2016 Free article: Managing uncertainty Free article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique Free article: The latest developments in education - September 2016 Free article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection Free article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty Free article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders Free article: The governing body as a critical friend Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectations Free article: The exam post-mortem Free article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility Free article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model Free article: Effective leadership builds effective teams Free article: Baseline assessment and SEND Free article: Deconstructing the link between SEND and poverty Free article: Making performance management count in school improvement Free article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust Free article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation Free article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser? Free article: Headteachers’ appraisal Free article: Making CPD work harder Free article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard Free article: The government's Prevent guidance Free article: Improving provision for the most able Free article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare Free article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools? Free article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment Free article: Actively promoting fundamental British values Free article: Raising boys’ achievement Free article: National standards of excellence for headteachers Free article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation Free article: CPD: Less measurement and more development Free article: Challenging 
the most able Free article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability Free article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom Free article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons Free article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance Free article: Four steps to school improvement Free article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership Free article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision Free article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence Free article: Getting personal  with CPD Free article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process Free article: Parent View — an update Free article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach Free article: Effective parental engagement

Ofsted and staff wellbeing

Sue Cowley argues that staff wellbeing is essential to the success of the school.

Free article: How to prepare staff for an Ofsted inspection

Helen Frostick gives some practical tips on how to prepare staff to meet the requirements of the Education inspection framework (EIF).

Free article: COVID 19: Supporting student mental health remotely

Sam Garner gives some practical tips on supporting students remotely during the coronavirus outbreak.

Free article: Mental health and behaviour: updated guidance

The DfE has updated its document Mental health and behaviour in schools. In light of the growing concern about mental health, John Viner outlines the importance of this document with…

Free article: What to expect from Ofsted in 2019

The consultation document has given a good indication of what school leaders can expect from the new Ofsted framework. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell outlines the main, proposed features of…

Free article: Improving teacher recruitment and retention: part 1

In the first part of a two-part article, Matt Bromley looks at ways to improve teacher recruitment and retention.

Free article: Get ready to win strategic school improvement funding

How do you make a successful bid for a slice of the government’s Strategic School Improvement Fund? Best Practice Network’s Liam Donnison asks two school leaders who have done so…

Reputation management for schools

PLMR’s Sam Dalton talks about how schools can manage reputational impact when a crisis hits.

Experience shared: Effective mentoring

Steve Burnage explores the professional development potential of a productive and focused mentoring relationship from the perspective of the mentor.

Nurture groups and parental engagement

Nurture groups are a multi-dimensional group intervention with a whole-school focus, and running them successfully depends on a wide array of different factors. In this third and final article exploring…

Tackling bullying in schools - part one

Bullying is defined as: ‘Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally’. This article looks at the…

Aggression at work: Managing yourself and others

Conflict management is a vital skill for managers. Schools have clear policies on managing aggression in the classroom and playground. In this article Louise Wingrove looks at dealing with it…

Managing difficult conversations

Some conversations are always going to be uncomfortable. In this article, Louise Wingrove looks at managing difficult subjects with care and confidence.

The art of influence: Creating the best outcome

Louise Wingrove looks at how being aware of your impact on others can help everybody get what they need.

Change management and conflict

Nazli Hussein looks at the causes of conflict and the best ways to deal with it, with the best outcomes for those involved.

Managing anxiety at work

With growing awareness about anxiety and the impact it can have on both pupils and members of staff, Louis Wingrove looks at some ways to tackle the problem in the…

Interpreting data for 2017 performance

Tony Powell looks at the three different ways that a school’s academic performance is evaluated.

Free article: Ofsted inspection of SRE provision: Getting it right

This article considers ways to ensure high-quality sex and relationships education (SRE), outlines what Ofsted will be looking for, and looks ahead to the next 12–24 months.

Free article: Know your strengths

Can you make inspection an enriching learning process that is actually good for your school? Heather Clements of Best Practice Network offers some advice. 

Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectation

In this article, Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectation in their schools. 

Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence

Tony Powell outlines a step-by-step approach to support schools in achieving the accolade of ‘outstanding’ as defined by Ofsted.

Free article: HR and the successful school: A case study

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling College, gives a personal viewpoint of the benefits of bringing in the experts.

Free article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress

Steve Burnage discusses engaging with good practice in the leadership of teaching and learning.

Free article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review

Tony Powell reports on the findings of the final Rochford Review.

Free article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement

A high-performing leadership team is at the centre of any school improvement mission. But how do you go about creating an excellent SLT? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network asks…

Free article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement

Adrian Kneeshaw of Carlton Bolling school gives advice on how to focus school spending on improvement planning.

Free article: Transforming a failing school

Matt Bromley offers some advice on turning around an underperforming school in a short space of time while laying down the foundations for sustainable improvement.

Free article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision

Tony Powell explains how inspectors gather evidence and make judgements on the quality of alternative and specially resourced provision.

Free article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing

With concerns about mental health rising, what can schools do to help their pupils? Suzanne O’Connell outlines the advice available from the National Children’s Bureau and how it might be…

Free article: The latest developments in education - January 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Free article: Managing uncertainty

If you are struggling with a sense of uncertainty, be reassured: you are not alone. 2016 has been a year of upheaval, with the promise of big changes on the…

Free article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique

Tony Powell provides guidance on how to use discussion with pupils as a tool for self-evaluation.

Free article: The latest developments in education - September 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Free article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection

Tony Powell looks at how to use the feedback from your inspection in school improvement planning.

Free article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty

How can an expanding multi-academy trust ensure that school improvement doesn’t become a casualty of change? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network looks at the issue and offers some guidance.

Free article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders

Adrian Kneeshaw looks at how leadership is important to the success of the school, and how to lead effectively.

Free article: The governing body as a critical friend

In his second article on the headteacher and governor relationship, Tony Powell defines what is meant by a ‘critical friend’.

Free article: Developing an ethos of high expectations

Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectations in their schools.

Free article: The exam post-mortem

Matt Bromley considers how schools can learn from exam performance data and build this into school improvement.

Free article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility

With new safeguarding guidance released, it’s time to check your arrangements and update your staff.

Free article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model

This article outlines the Ofsted methodology for determining whether a school is ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Free article: Effective leadership builds effective teams

Steve Burnage offers advice on motivating staff, getting the best from them and building effective teams.

Free article: Baseline assessment and SEND

Suzanne O’Connell looks at a report on baseline assessment in primary schools and it’s affect on identifying children with SEND.

Free article: Deconstructing the link between SEND and poverty

DfE statistics show a clear link between SEND and children living in poverty. Suzanne O’Connell outlines some of the reasons for this, and recommendations for action, in a Joseph Rowntree…

Free article: Making performance management count in school improvement

What do you need to do to make performance management a watertight process that makes a real contribution to school improvement? Keith Wright has some suggestions.

Free article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust

Tony Stephens, of the Co-operative Academies Trust, looks at what is the best type of multi-academy trust for a school to join or establish.

Free article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation

David Birch explains how capturing the views of students can sharpen school self-evaluation and have a positive impact on your school improvement strategies.

Free article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser?

Frank Norris offers advice on how to choose the most appropriate school improvement partner to work with your school.

Free article: Headteachers’ appraisal

David Birch outlines best practice in the management of the headteacher appraisal process and offers advice for headteachers on how to make the most of appraisal in their own professional development.

Free article: Making CPD work harder

Professional development is a crucial factor in school improvement and improving pupil outcomes, but it could work harder, says Keith Wright.

Free article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard

There is a new inspection dashboard to go with Ofsted's new Common inspection framework. Tony Powell explains how it can be used.

Free article: The government's Prevent guidance

Suzanne O'Connell considers the guidance available regarding Prevent and school leaders' responsibilities.

Free article: Improving provision for the most able

Ofsted reports are making it clear. The DfE wants to see secondary schools challenging their most able students. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell summarises the criticisms and recommendations from ‘The…

Free article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Tony Powell looks at the new key area ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ under the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Free article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools?

The mental health of children and young people is at the top of the agenda at the moment. Increased anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders are bringing some schools to crisis…

Free article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment

Tony Powell interprets government guidance on assessment to help schools support self-evaluation.

Free article: Actively promoting fundamental British values

Tony Powell advises on how schools can demonstrate that they are actively promoting fundamental British values.

Free article: Raising boys’ achievement

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Free article: National standards of excellence for headteachers

Tony Powell looks at the revised national standards for headteachers and how they should be used by schools.

Free article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation

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Free article: CPD: Less measurement and more development

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Free article: Challenging 
the most able

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Free article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability

Tony Powell looks at how the teachers’ standards can be used to evaluate performance and support improvement.

Free article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom

Since January 2014 there has been increased emphasis on the behaviour of pupils. In this article, Jim Donnelly offers advice on managing behaviour around the school.

Free article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons

David Birch offers advice on effective classroom management and argues that effective practice relies on a combination of the consistent application of agreed policy and the development of awareness and…

Free article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance

This is statutory guidance, which means that schools and colleges (including academies and free schools) must have regard to it. It contains what schools should do and what they must…

Free article: Four steps to school improvement

School improvement is a complex recipe that takes time to perfect. Keith Wright looks at some of the key barriers to school improvement and suggests strategies and systems to overcome…

Free article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership

Louise Wingrove gives practical advice on how to become a leader your team will want to follow.

Free article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision

Given that whole-school literacy is central to raising standards of achievement in schools and that it is a key focus for Ofsted, David Birch outlines some of the actions schools…

Free article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence

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Free article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process

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Free article: Parent View — an update

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Free article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach

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Free article: Effective parental engagement

Ofsted’s Parent View means that parents have a direct influence on the decision to inspect. Jenny Townsend examines why this matters to schools.

Ofsted and staff wellbeing

Published: Monday, 22 June 2020

Sue Cowley argues that staff wellbeing is essential to the success of the school.

Summary

• Your school should consider how you can demonstrate to Ofsted inspectors that you take staff wellbeing seriously.

• Think carefully about the systems you have in place to support staff and how you evaluate the effectiveness of these systems.

 • Wellbeing at work is about physical and mental health, the relationships we have with others in our place of work, a sense of purpose and value, and the type of environment in which we work.

In the current very difficult situation, thoughts of Ofsted will have been put on the back burner for school leaders, in favour of thinking about how to support their staff and families on a day-to-day basis. However, the subject of staff wellbeing has in some ways actually come to the fore during this crisis, because leaders are having to think about supporting staff at a time of stress. They are also having to consider the potential risks to staff health during this lockdown and in the aftermath.

In a profession where the staff are absolutely central to successful outcomes for children and young people, it is vital that teachers and other members of your school team feel well supported – our staff are our most important resource. Ensuring staff wellbeing is not only a moral imperative for you as an employer, it is also vital in order for you to do the best for your children and families.

Although teaching can be a very difficult job at times, it is noteworthy that the majority of teachers still view their work as a vocation. When I ask during INSET sessions about who would continue to work as a teacher, even if they had won the lottery, a flurry of hands always go up. Teachers mostly love being in the classroom with the children – it is the peripheral aspects of the profession that tend to cause stress and damage wellbeing.

Staff wellbeing and the new Education inspection framework (EIF)

One of the most commonly heard complaints about the Ofsted inspection system is to do with its impact on staff wellbeing. Ofsted has been trying to mitigate some of the impact of the accountability system on teachers’ stress levels, through the introduction of its new framework.

One of the key questions you should consider in preparation for an inspection is how you can demonstrate to inspectors that you take staff wellbeing seriously. Think carefully about the systems you have in place to support staff and how you evaluate the effectiveness of these systems. Inspectors may wish to talk to staff about their levels of job satisfaction, and the steps leaders have taken to ensure that they are safe, happy and healthy.

What does wellbeing mean?

It is tempting to think about ‘wellbeing’ as meaning physical health – literally being ‘well’. However, in the context of a school and its staff, wellbeing covers a range of aspects of a staff member’s role. It is, of course about, physical and mental health, and about the relationships we have with others in our place
of work.

It is also about a sense of purpose and value – the feeling that we have some ownership of our own goals and the ability to influence system-wide decisions. Included in the term wellbeing are also aspects of the environment – the overall culture, the kind of facilities and resources we have available to us to do our work, and a sense of security, whether financial, about health and safety, or about freedom from bullying and harassment.

Ofsted research into teacher stress

Ofsted recently published a report into teacher wellbeing. Their report noted that ‘teaching staff and education professionals report the highest rates of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in Britain’. It is clear from the report that, while teachers love being in the classroom and working with the children, they suffer from high workload and a lack of work–life balance. Pupil behaviour was also identified as a factor in stress levels, particularly where teachers feel unsupported by their senior leaders. Unsurprisingly, Ofsted inspections themselves were also identified as a key source of stress.

In terms of government policy, teachers say that they feel ‘done to’ rather than ‘worked with’. Ironically, this is a profession that has just had to go through another full-scale change in the inspection framework. The report notes how ‘frequent changes increase the already high workload; and the perceived lack of say leads to feelings of de-professionalisation’.

Where the SLT contributes well to staff wellbeing, the following factors were identified in Ofsted’s research. These senior leaders:

• support a positive work culture

• are accessible to staff

• listen to staff

• value them as professionals

• recognise their work

• support their autonomy.

The report made a number of sensible recommendations for senior leaders, in terms of supporting staff wellbeing. They should:

• Utilise the DfE advice on workload reduction, particularly around data collection and marking/paperwork – you can find lots of resources online (see ‘Further information’).

• Consider the ways in which teachers and parents are in contact with each other, and the contribution this might make to workload – for instance, whether it is appropriate for parents to have open access to teacher email addresses, and the potential pressure caused by an ‘instant response’ culture.

• Ensure that staff understand the messages around workload and data collection in the new Ofsted framework. Ofsted states that ‘unnecessary data should not be collected for inspection’, although it is not clear how schools are expected to define what is ‘unnecessary’ in this context.

In reality, it is likely that the new focus on curriculum has probably contributed to teacher workload, particularly in small primary schools, where a single teacher might find themselves responsible for a number of subjects. There has been a lot of talk about whether it is appropriate to expect a teacher to answer questions during a ‘deep dive’ for subjects where they do not receive any additional responsibility points.

What can schools do to support wellbeing?

It can be very helpful to offer opportunities to take part in activities with other members of staff, in order to boost relationships. However, be wary about introducing ‘enforced’ wellbeing activities which staff may not feel comfortable about doing. Ensure that there is a comfortable staff room in your setting, where staff can take time out and have breaks as required, and encourage staff actually to take their breaks during the school day.

It can be useful to undertake a survey to get a general feel for how your staff view their wellbeing – this is best done anonymously to ensure total honesty. Support staff in feeling that it is possible to talk about issues by making it clear that you are open to feedback and critique. Help your staff feel appreciated and valued by regularly celebrating their contributions to the school.

Examine the potential role of the mental health lead in your school and think carefully about how you can offer support for staff, especially when they are dealing with potentially traumatic situations, such as safeguarding issues.

Look at your appraisal system and consider how this is used to support and celebrate your staff, as well as giving them targets to help them progress. With the end of the grading of lessons in inspections, observations should no longer be graded using an Ofsted-type scale. It is useful to include a score for wellbeing in your staff appraisal process, so that you can compare how staff feel about their work year on year.

Further information

• Advice on workload reduction, particularly around data collection and marking: https://bit.ly/2ysW1HB

• ‘Summary and recommendations: teacher well-being research report’, July 2019 Ofsted: https://bit.ly/3b0mjhD

About the author

Sue Cowley is an author, teacher educator and presenter. Her book ‘Getting the Buggers to Behave’ has been translated into 10 languages. Her latest book is ‘The Ultimate Guide to Mark Making in the Early Years’, published by Bloomsbury. She has written for the TES, Teach Primary and Nursery World. Sue works internationally as a teacher trainer and helps to run her local pre-school.

Find out more at www.suecowley.co.uk.

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