Best Practice Case Studies
The schools featured in this section have implemented a culture of
staff wellbeing and mental health
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Queen Mary's Grammar School (QMGS) Walsall
Addressing the issue of rising mental health problems in students (March, 2019)
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Click on the button below the excerpt to download the full case-study from Queen Mary's Grammar School.
Queen Mary’s Grammar School (QMGS) is an Ofsted outstanding selective boys’ school which is co-educational in the 6th form and has 1089 pupils on roll. It is in Walsall, an industrial town eight miles northwest of Birmingham. In 2018, QMGS became a founder member of the Mercian multi-academy trust along with four other Walsall schools, following single academy conversion in 2011. The four pillars of QMGS are ‘Academic in Purpose’, ‘International in Outlook’, ‘Generous in Approach’ and ‘Enterprising in Spirit’, and life at the school reflects these characteristics equally, along with adherence to the QMGS Pastoral Charter. Over 60% of the pupils are of Asian ethnic origin, and some travel to the school from as far afield as Derby, which is 36 miles away. The school motto is ‘Quas dederis solas semper habebis opes’: ‘It is what you give that you will keep as eternal riches’.
The then Deputy Head, Richard Langton, made it a whole-school priority in 2016 to address the issue of rising mental health problems. The issue was being reported more and more nationally, and our school was no exception, putting additional pressure on our hard-working pastoral team. Initially, Mr Langton formed a staff working party, who discussed ideas and visited other schools to see the work they were doing. Some of us had had experience of mental health problems within our own families driving us to action. Mr Langton also initiated a school-wide mental health survey to assess the level of need...
Click on the button below to download the full case-study from Queen Mary's Grammar School
Eastfield Primary School, Enfield
Wellbeing and Reducing Teacher Workload
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Headteacher, Christalla Jamil
December 9, 2018
(Click on the logo to visit Eastfield Primary School's website)
What prompted me to take action?
I took on the headship of my school in the May 2013. A few weeks after, we had an Ofsted monitoring visit resulting in a ‘requires improvement’ grade. Pressure was on to get to ‘good’ in a set framework of time. We achieved ‘good’ in 2015 and also had a couple of outstanding areas. It was now time for me to look at reducing teacher workload with a renewed energy to impact on wellbeing.
I began to realise that in order to meet the additional pressures I was forcing on my staff, linked to our marking and feedback policy in 2015, the only thing to help them manage, was to provide additional time for staff to cope. Since then, we have frequently reviewed the policy and the current streamlined version is no longer called a marking and feedback policy; it is just a feedback policy.
Our feedback policy has been scaled down and the word marking has been completely eradicated. Please see Appendix 1.
Reviewing Release Time
In addition to two sessions of PPA time, my staff receive an extra non-contact session every week. This has further developed into releasing them every half term for one and a half days. These days could be taken in school or not, as long as the agreed areas are met. The release is regardless of pay scales and TLRs. Further release is also given if it is required and needs to be justified...
Click on the button below to download the full case-study from Eastfield Primary School
Kingham Primary School, Oxfordshire
Staff Wellbeing (January 2019)
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Click on the button below the excerpt to download Kingham Primary School's full case-study.
Kingham Primary School is a local authority one-form entry school in rural West Oxfordshire. The school encourages pupils to have the confidence to explore, experiment and develop skills through a creative curriculum, taught through termly topics chosen by the class teacher in conjunction with the pupils. The school prides itself on its art, sport, music and outdoor provision, as well as academic achievement and progress.
Headteacher: Bretta Townend-Jowitt
Bretta Townend-Jowitt has been in education for over 20 years. Her responsibilities include membership of the Chartered College and being an advocate for a focus group; Advocate for the Maternity Teacher - Paternity Teacher project; Women Leading in Education Coach; and a member of the Advisory Board for Teacher Toolkit. Bretta is passionate about staff health and wellbeing and flexible working.
What do we mean by staff wellbeing at Kingham Primary School?
The term ‘wellbeing’ can be used to describe our holistic health, including our physical, mental and emotional health. When we have good levels of wellbeing we feel life is in balance and that we can generally cope well. We feel motivated and engaged and are able to show resilience and ‘bounce back’ from life’s challenges.
(‘Supporting staff wellbeing in schools’: Anna Freud, National Centre for Children and Families)...
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Kingham Primary School's full case-study.
Three Bridges Primary School, Southall
'There is another way'
Interview with Headteacher Jeremy Hannay. Posted on 'Ahead of Our Time' by John Bishop on 4 June, 2017
Listen to John Bishop's interview with Jeremy Hannay by clicking on the arrow in the red circle below.
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Three Bridges Primary School Website
Jeremy Hannay is the Headteacher of Three Bridges Primary School in West London, an innovative and successful school that serves a disadvantaged population. He writes regularly for Teach Primary and Primary School Management in between completing his doctorate at the University of Exeter.
Jeremy has worked in both Canada and England as an educator and provides support and advisory to a number of schools in mathematics, English and school leadership. He believes passionately in growing schools that are characterised by incredible educators, courageous young people and cultures of enquiry, collaboration and happiness. He tweets using @HannayJeremy.
There is so much excellent content packed within the next 60 minutes [See link to Podcast interview below] that this could well be the most valuable and effective CPD for school leaders all year. We discuss many of the key features of Three Bridges Primary School that have led to its success on so many levels. The roots of Jeremy’s educational philosophy and his outside view on our school system are themes running throughout our conversation which also includes the following topics:
Listen to John Bishop's interview with Jeremy Hannay
by clicking on the arrow in the red circle below
Hannah Wilson: Aureus School, Didcot & Executive Headteacher and Strategic Lead GLF Teaching Schools Alliance: Co-Founder of #WomenEd
Click on the logo to visit Aureus School's website
Click on the button below the excerpt to read a full account of the work Aureus is doing to improve student and staff wellbeing.
'Aureus School is committed to nurturing hearts and minds. As a brand new 11-16 academy that opened with Year 7s only in September 2017, we have committed to wellbeing as one of our 12 core values. Our Trust's (GLF Teaching Schools Alliance) vision is to enable all of our community to grow, learn and flourish. We have a Deputy Headteacher who leads the strategy for culture and wellbeing and focuses on student wellbeing, and who works with a Lead Practitioner who focuses on staff wellbeing. Significant cultural changes we have made including flipping the school day so that all of our students start their mornings mindfully, insisting that all of our community engage in the family dining experience and a half day on Fridays. We have secured some funding from the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust to fund a regional Mental Health and Wellbeing network and curate a free offer of training opportunities for the local area. We have a Mental Health First Aider and are working towards the Mental Health in School Award'.
Click on the button below to read a full account of the work Aureus School is doing to improve
student and staff wellbeing
How my school takes the stress off teachers: Katherine Mortimore: Lead Practitioner for English (The Guardian: Sept 2017)
Click on the logo to visit Torquay Academy's website
Click on the button below the excerpt to read a full account of the work Torquay Academy is doing to improve student and staff wellbeing.
Kathrine Mortimore, Lead Practitioner for English at Torquay Academy, explains how her school 'has found ways to reduce the workload burden on teachers - while also helping us become more effective in the classroom'.
Key points she makes in the article:
Ark Conway Primary Academy, Hammersmith
Ark Conway Primary Academy awarded Gold in Mind's Workplace Wellbeing Index in March 2017
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Ark Conway Primary Academy's website
Ark Conway Primary Academy in Hammersmith was recognised at an awards' ceremony for its commitment to workplace wellbeing. The school was awarded Gold in Mind’s inaugural Workplace Wellbeing Index, which shows it is achieving excellence within their workplace.
Ark Conway’s current approach to promoting mental health and wellbeing to its staff of around 30 people is built into their Mental Capital and Wellbeing Five Way Minimum offer, based on the New Economics Foundation’s 'Five Ways to Wellbeing'.
Some of the highlights include providing dedicated self-directed time at the end of each day (from 4pm) so that staff can choose how to manage their own workload enabling them to schedule their work around commitments with friends and/or family; providing all staff members with a fitness tracker band and dedicated non-contact time for a self-chosen area of learning.
Ark Conway’s offer also acts as a tool for starting conversation around the importance of mental health. Staff share concerns regarding their mental health with a member of staff who they feel comfortable with, usually a peer or their line manager. The leadership team operate an 'open door' policy so staff can approach their manager for support and advice. Ark Conway delivers weekly five-minute standing meetings where staff can discuss how they are feeling and the strategies they are taking to sustain a positive wellbeing.
Lois Osborne, Head of School at Ark Conway Primary Academy said: “Ark Conway Primary Academy is delighted their commitment to ensuring workplace wellbeing has been recognised in Mind's first Workplace Wellbeing Index. We still feel we are at the start of our journey but we know employers have a responsibility to promote workplace wellbeing and prevent poor mental health. Our commitment to workplace wellbeing means we're on the right track to better support our staff."
Ark Conway’s current approach to promoting mental health and wellbeing to their staff of around 30 people is built into their Mental Capital and Wellbeing Five Way Minimum offer, based on the New Economics Foundation’s 'Five Ways to Wellbeing'.
Click on the school logo above to visit
Tapton High School, Sheffield
Whole-School Wellbeing (2017)
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Click on the button below the excerpt to read a full account of the work Tapton School is doing to improve staff wellbeing.
Tapton School in Sheffield has a whole-school approach to supporting student and staff well-being. Steve Rippin, Assistant Headteacher, Mental Health lead, describes their approach.
'Our decision to focus on mental health and wellbeing was based on a multitude of factors rather than any one reason. As an outstanding, forward-thinking school, Tapton is always looking to provide students with the very best experiences and opportunities so that they are able to lead fulfilling lives...
'While we were busy launching our mental health programme, we were also working on a student, staff and parent/carer survey in conjunction with CAMHS. This was to gain a baseline measure and discover stakeholders’ viewpoints on mental health...The staff survey revealed that many teachers didn’t feel qualified and were hesitant to give mental health support in case they gave the wrong advice and made the situation worse...'
Visit Tapton School's website and their dedicated page 'Mental Health and Wellbeing' where: "The mental health and wellbeing of all members of Tapton School (including staff, students and parents) is fundamental to our philosophy and ethos ‘valuing everyone, caring for each other, achieving excellence’."
You can also download resources from the Tapton School website to help you with your own Wellbeing strategies: http://mentalhealth.taptonschool.co.uk/
Click on the button below to read a full account of the work Tapton School is doing to improve staff wellbeing.
Brimsdown Primary School, Enfield
How a staff wellbeing group changed the school culture: Dani Lang, Headteacher (January 2018)
Click on the logo to visit Brimsdown Primary School's website
Click on the button below the excerpt to read a full account of the work Brimsdown Primary School is doing to improve staff wellbeing.
"I started as Headteacher at Brimsdown Primary School during a troubling time for the school. There had been two ‘Requires Improvement’ Ofsted inspections, and the school was judged to be in the lowest 10% for Year 6 reading progress.
The subsequent changes my leadership team and I had made – a new English and phonics scheme and behaviour policy, for example, and redundancies in the first year - had left staff morale low. As a result, I made the decision during the Christmas holidays in 2015 to start a staff wellbeing team and asked for volunteers from the teaching staff to help.
The results have been extraordinary. Two years later, our most recent Ofsted grade improved to ‘Good with three outstanding elements’, and we’re now in the top 20% for progress in reading and maths. Staff seem much happier and the school has much more of a family feel to it. I’m now firmly of the belief every school should have a wellbeing team".
Click on the button below to read a full account of the work
sdBrimsdown Primary School is doing to improve staff wellbeing
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