Free article: Time to strengthen the home–school relationship Free article: Preparing for the restart of Ofsted inspections Free article: Wellbeing of school staff Free article: Crisis management for schools Free article: Understanding how Ofsted thinks (and building this into self-evaluation) Free article: Ofsted visits and self-evaluation during the coronavirus pandemic Free article: Reflecting on leadership standards in the era of  COVID-19 Free article: Living with the new normal: How Covid-19 is changing education 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 Free article: Sexual violence and  harassment between pupils 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

Free article: Time to strengthen the home–school relationship

Since the pandemic there’s been a fresh appreciation of the value of strong parental links. Now let’s make those relationships stronger, says Simon Hay.

Free article: Preparing for the restart of Ofsted inspections

 Paul Thomson talks about how to get ready for Ofsted when inspections return.

Free article: Wellbeing of school staff

Whilst schools rally around pupils to support them through these challenging times, Kenny Wheeler considers how school leaders can support the emotional wellbeing of staff and colleagues in their setting.

Free article: Crisis management for schools

Matt Bromley considers what the Covid-19 crisis might mean with regard to how schools manage difficult times in the future.

Free article: Understanding how Ofsted thinks (and building this into self-evaluation)

Tony Powell argues that the key to a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ grade is writing your self-evaluation with the Ofsted methodology in mind.

Free article: Ofsted visits and self-evaluation during the coronavirus pandemic

Sue Cowley talks about Ofsted’s approach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Free article: Reflecting on leadership standards in the era of  COVID-19

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Free article: Living with the new normal: How Covid-19 is changing education

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Free article: How to prepare staff for an Ofsted inspection

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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

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Free article: What to expect from Ofsted in 2019

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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

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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…

Free article: Sexual violence and  harassment between pupils

The impact of all forms of sexual harassment is now more fully recognised. Schools must address this issue wherever it occurs between pupils. Suzanne O’Connell looks at the DfE’s new…

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…

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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…

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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

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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

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Free article: Making performance management count in school improvement

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

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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

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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

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Free article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare

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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

John Viner looks at research into boys’ underachievement and reviews some successful strategies.

Free article: National standards of excellence for headteachers

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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…

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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…

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Teachers are good at gathering evidence of pupil progress, but many find it difficult to do the same with regard to their own professional development.  Keith Wright looks at the…

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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.

Free article: Wellbeing of school staff

Published: Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Whilst schools rally around pupils to support them through these challenging times, Kenny Wheeler considers how school leaders can support the emotional wellbeing of staff and colleagues in their setting.

Summary

• Our actions can influence our own wellbeing positively.

• Wellbeing is subjective, everyone will have their own gauge of how well they are feeling.

Once you have accepted support to help yourself, you are in a better place to offer support to your colleagues. The normal stresses of life have altered immeasurably during the COVID-19 pandemic. Normal routines have changed and what were simple things, like entering a workplace or a classroom, have become anxiety-invoking activities. Stress has changed because we are faced with the unknown, threats are lurking, and we have to deal with a tsunami of information and guidance some of which is conflicting and contradictory.

There are some things we can control in our lives and wellbeing is one of them. Whilst there will always be external factors that impact on us, we can take control. Our direct actions can influence our own wellbeing positively, we can share our approaches with others so that they can also experience more positive wellbeing.

How are you?

Having worked with a multitude of leaders over the years, I would urge you to follow this advice for yourself first. Start with Form – Supporting my own wellbeing.

It is not about being selfish, it is more the case of making sure your mask is on before trying to help everyone else put their mask on. You really do need to make sure that you are okay before you start trying to make sure everyone else is.

What is wellbeing?

The World Health Organisation states the following about wellbeing:

‘Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’

See here for more detail on this definition: https://bit.ly/2HaE6tH..

Wellbeing is subjective, everyone will have their own gauge of how well they are feeling: physically, emotionally, psychologically. We can follow some simple steps to help.

Mindset

Try the power of possible, positive thinking. What good things might happen if we take a particular action? Try to envision success and all the benefits it will bring rather than thinking any plans are doomed to failure. Think about how you will feel when you do complete a task that you may have been putting off.

Be kind

Embrace your imperfections, nobody is perfect, acknowledge your shortcomings and set a plan to help overcome some of them. If you are not happy, then take steps to change. You might think about the words you use when you are setting out to make a change in your life. Consider ‘could’ instead of ‘should’. Could gives you options and helps you to consider why you may not have made as much progress as you might have wanted to. Should adds pressure and guilt, there is less unpicking of why and it is more accusational. Think could rather than should, but don’t make excuses, change needs positive actions.

Embrace failure

Mistakes are going to happen, you didn’t make them on purpose so don’t beat yourself up, try to work on reducing the frequency with which they occur and make sure you don’t make the same mistake over and over. Think through what happened, where things went wrong and what you can do to avoid them happening again.

Gain perspective

What would your best friend say about the situation? Try to look at things from someone else’s perspective, who might be more positive and upbeat. Better still, speak to your friend so you can get a different perspective on the situation.

Reduce your distance

Step away from the email and pick up the phone. Rather than drawn out email exchanges where you don’t know the tone in which the message is intended, pick up the phone and speak to the person.

Celebrate

Acknowledge success and when progress has been made, even when it is by small steps. These small steps will lead to bigger steps and improve your chances of overall success as well as helping maintain your engagement and levels of enthusiasm.

Step away

Take a break during the day and do not talk or even think about work. There is sometimes pressure to be seen to be working or be busy, but you cannot work all day without a break (at least, it is not good over a prolonged period of time). You need to create headspace so you can give quality focus on tasks later in the day so find somewhere you can go where you can have time for you.

This then might extend to leaving the workplace at a sensible time, get away from the classroom or office so you have time for yourself. Do not play the car park game! Does it matter if you are the first car in the car park in the morning and the last one there in the evening? Just because you are doing long hours in school does it actually mean you are being effective?

Be the change

If you are in a better place as an individual, then you are going to be in a better place to support others and offer genuine guidance in relation to wellbeing. This is a really important point, if you look sad or miserable then, realistically, who is going to take your advice seriously, it falls into the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ category! It is therefore important to consider how you present in front of your colleagues. How are you ‘showing up’ when you enter a room or interact with colleagues?

Support, advise and give guidance

Once you have taken some action to help yourself, you are in a better place to offer support to your colleagues. Following the same steps, they can take some positive actions to address their own wellbeing.

Remember, you can support, advise and give guidance but ultimately it is up to individuals to take action to address their own wellbeing. Make sure you do not become drawn into a drama, effectively counselling individuals and taking on their burdens, which then impacts on your own wellbeing.

This is not a case of being selfish or lacking compassion. Some individuals may need more specialist support than you can offer. Linking this back to leadership, you can coach and mentor colleagues but if someone is stuck on a certain point or event that took place in their life then they may need counselling, it is at that point you seek out a qualified individual.

Most schools will have access to some kind of employee support service, you can direct staff to this as an option. Alternatively, if staff are wary of accessing this service, then there may be other services on offer within the LA which can be searched for using the Local Offer website.

Schoolwide strategies

Teamwork

Give positive feedback and let colleagues know when they have done well. There is a danger that, in a heavily scrutinised profession, we come to accept criticism or negative feedback. Make the effort to give positive feedback, reinforce what went well so that colleagues get credit when they do their job well.

Movement

Create events where colleagues can engage in an activity where they can relax or unwind and not think about work. This might be yoga, some sporting activity or an interest that staff have in common. These events then help support the social wellbeing of staff so there are opportunities to associate work with smiles and happiness rather than stress and woes.

Nourishment

Consider healthy treats in the staffroom. Wellbeing is also impacted on by our physical health, so it is important we take care of our bodies. Settings celebrate with cakes and other naughty goodies but consider offering healthier alternatives.

Timeout

Have breaks from social media. Twitter is awash with perfect tales of excellence. Whilst great, this can add further pressure. Give yourself a break, leave social media alone so you can have some time for your own thoughts.

Purpose and mission

Reinforce your purpose and mission but really make it clear that it is we, us, together. There are always going to be challenging times but remember your purpose and what you are doing in education in the first place. We face challenges together, but we are improving the life chances of current and future generations.

We can control our own wellbeing and we need to feel empowered to do so. Work is going to be challenging and there are hurdles we are inevitably going to face, but we can control our wellbeing if we choose to do so. It is something we need to continually focus on so that we maintain a healthy balance in our lives.

Toolkit

Use the following items in the Toolkit to help you put the ideas in this article into practice:

Form – Supporting my own wellbeing

Handout – Supporting others’ wellbeing

About the author

Kenny Wheeler has over a decade’s experience as a secondary SENCo and senior leader. He works for the Driver Youth Trust (@DriverTrust) as a senior consultant. He is also a consultant for SEN, Inclusion and Leadership. You can contact him on Twitter @KennyInclusion

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