Imagine a different kind of school inspection ...
When Ofsted inspects a school, they are not required to report on teachers’ levels of stress, well-being and the number of days per year teachers are absent through mental ill-health. Imagine a public body called Ofstem. Their remit is to report on how schools are looking after their teachers’ mental health and well-being. A report might look like the one below. Any similarity to a particular school’s Ofsted report is purely coincidental and unintentional.
The Office for Standards in Teachers' Mental Health and Well-Being (Ofstem)
Inspection of Leafy Lane Academy
Office for Standards in Teachers’ Mental Health and Well-Being (Ofstem) School report
Leafy Lane Academy
Overall effectiveness: OutstandingEffectiveness of provision for teachers’ well-being: OutstandingQuality of teaching and learning: OutstandingPersonal development of teachers and their welfare: OutstandingOutcomes of teachers’ mental health assessment: Outstanding
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is an outstanding school
The Headteacher and senior leaders ensure that all the standards for teachers’ mental health are met. High standards of teachers’ mental health are shared by senior leaders. Teachers identify strong individual improvements in their self-esteem, well-being and ability to manage stress. The quality of the school’s provision for the mental health and well-being of staff is outstanding. Teachers are supported when they are suffering from stress and anxiety and there is excellent collaboration with local GPs. Pupils’ understanding of the impact of stress on teachers is outstanding. The school ensures that pupils and parents are informed about how teachers’ stress and anxiety adversely impacts their effectiveness in the classroom.
Excellent arrangements for the monitoring of teachers’ and support staff’s well-being are in place at both middle and senior leader levels. An appropriate balance of challenge and support ensures that teachers are given exemplary opportunities for professional development, sensitively matched to their overall well-being. Arrangements for supporting staff are exemplary. Staff at all levels understand mental illness and are trained to recognize the early signs of stress and anxiety in their colleagues. Governors provide strong and effective well-being support to school leaders. They have an excellent understanding of the demands placed on teachers. There is a designated governor with responsibility for mental health and well-being who meets regularly with staff via the Mental Health Working Party.
Compliance with regulatory requirements
The school meets the requirements of the schedule to the Mental Health and Well-Being Regulations (Teachers in Education) 2015 and associated requirements.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
Ensure teachers allocate one non-contact period each week to stress-reduction strategies.
Implement best practice in all subject areas to enable all teachers to achieve a work-life balance.
Effectiveness of leadership and management is outstanding
Senior leaders provide excellent leadership, giving appropriate consideration to staff mental health and well-being. Well-chosen professional development opportunities ensure a positive impact on teachers’ motivation. Senior leaders, together with teaching and support staff, have implemented rigorous arrangements for monitoring teachers’ mental health. Their judgements about the well-being of staff are secure and accurate. The Principal takes great care to ensure that high-quality staff are appointed and receive exceptional support, with access to mental health services where appropriate. Early signs of stress, anxiety and depression are recognized and acted upon so that acute mental health care is rarely needed. Staff, in their responses to an inspection questionnaire, state unanimously that they are proud to be members of staff at the school and that the school values their mental health and well-being. The school is an effective therapeutic community. Staff experience personalised support. The school successfully promotes teachers’ well-being. Senior leaders ensure that their care for teachers is outstanding and, as a result, pupils are themselves happy, calm and receive outstanding teaching and learning. Arrangements for monitoring and evaluating staff mental health and well-being are effective. Staff have access to training and resources provided by Mental Health First Aid England. Parents are extremely positive about how the school’s care for staff impacts on their chidren’s enjoyment of lessons and their levels of happiness. The school’s motto ‘Happiness and Well-Being For All’ is embedded in the DNA of the school. As a result, attainment is outstanding. Opportunities for the spiritual, social and cultural development of staff are exemplary. The Well-Being Working Party, with representatives from each subject and pastoral area, organizes a range of extra-curricular events for staff and their families.
The governance of the school
Governance arrangements are outstanding. The chair of governors has established effective, continuous dialogue on teachers’ mental health and well-being with school leaders. Governors keep all aspects of staff well-being under constant review and identify appropriate priorities for further support.
– Governors have implemented a range of appropriate measures for independent, external monitoring of staff mental health and well-being. As a result, teachers demonstrate outstanding ability to remain calm, controlled, fair and firm when dealing with pupil misbehaviour.– Governors are well-informed about staff achievement. They understand the challenges facing school leaders and teaching staff. They oversee arrangements for rewarding outstanding staff performance.– Governors work effectively with senior leaders to ensure that all the school standards for teachers’ mental health and well-being are fully met.
The arrangements for staff welfare are extremely effective. In particular, senior staff are meticulous in their arrangements for the recruitment of outstanding teachers and they ensure that they can perform consistently to the highest standards by looking after their mental health and well-being. Thorough confidential records are maintained of serious concerns about staff well-being which require referral to external agencies. Senior leaders ensure that referral is prompt and that it results in effective medical support. On the rare occasions when teachers are advised to remain at home, a well-rehearsed protocol is triggered to reduce as far as possible further stress on the teacher concerned who may understandably be anxious about the attainment of their pupils. Senior leaders have achieved considerable success in establishing a climate in which teachers can readily acknowledge when stress is beginning to affect their well-being and consequently their performance in the classroom. A ‘no blame’ culture is firmly established which ensures that the school does not regard a member of staff with mental ill-health either as weak or a failure.
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment is outstanding
The excellent quality of mental health and well-being care ensures teachers can deliver consistently outstanding lessons. The outstanding commitment and dedication of the staff are central to the school’s positive ethos and success. Teachers and support staff, working alongside pupils, demonstrate exemplary professional standards in their preparation and implementation of interesting learning activities which engage and challenge pupils. Teachers and support staff share responsibility for helping pupils to manage their behaviour. As a result, pupils are motivated to sustain their concentration, and enabled to identify and value their successes. Teaching staff give excellent attention to pupils’ individual learning styles and characteristics. They take full account of the different stages of development at which pupils are working and ensure that learning activities are suitably challenging and engaging. Staff place a strong and appropriate emphasis on the development of pupils’ mental health skills across all subjects. Pupils are encouraged to discuss mental health and its importance in life. Teachers value pupils’ ideas and oral contributions, and they encourage all pupils to listen carefully and build on the ideas of others. Staff management of pupils’ behaviour is outstanding. They make rapid progress as a result of the consistently high expectations of staff and the strategies that pupils learn in order to manage their responses appropriately. The care which the school takes to understand the impact of stress on teachers and support staff, and the openness with which strategies to support mental health are discussed, permeates to the relationships between teachers and pupils in the classroom. Consequently, understanding the reasons for pupils’ misbehaviour is balanced with the need to set high expectations for behaviour for learning. Pupils enjoy school and respond positively to learning activities which increasingly challenge them to respond at greater levels of difficulty. They demonstrate high standards of engagement and interest, and are able to sustain their concentration to complete tasks effectively. Pupils experience excellent opportunities to develop creative and practical skills. The curriculum includes an excellent range of curricular and extra-curricular activities. The school’s identification of pupils who need mental health support is excellent. A well-understood protocol and strategy for channeling pupils to appropriate support is in place. An equally effective programme is in place for teachers and support staff. Teachers provide a good range of opportunities for pupils to develop and improve their emotional intelligence across a wide range of subjects. Mental Health across the Curriculum is reinforced by middle and senior leaders.
Teachers’ personal development, well-being and welfare is outstanding
Personal development and welfare
The school’s work to promote teachers’ personal development, well-being and welfare is outstanding. The school’s strong emphasis on the development of teachers’ mental health contributes effectively to a low absence rate. HR works closely with a Well-Being Working Party which is comprised of a representative from each subject area, as well as all Heads of Year. A governor, who is a qualified Counsellor, sits on the committee and provides an effective link to the Governing Body. There are no recorded incidents of workplace bullying.
A continuous focus on the professional development of teachers ensures that pupils experience a suitable range of opportunities to develop their own awareness of healthy and safe lifestyles, both within PHSE and through the tutorial curriculum.
Teachers make a genuine contribution to the development and improvement of mental health in the school through the Well-Being Working Party. Minutes of their meetings demonstrate their constructive impact on, for example, their work/life balance.
The behaviour of pupils is outstanding and makes a strong contribution to their academic progress and social development. Patient staff ably support pupils to develop suitable strategies to manage their anxieties and frustrations and have an excellent understanding of individual pupils’ mental health needs. Staff manage pupils’ behaviour well to avoid disruptions to the learning of others. Any potential incidents are predicted appropriately as a result of staff’s detailed knowledge of pupils’ individual mental health needs and their potential impact on their actions, both inside and outside the classroom. The school’s counsellors make a strong and effective contribution in supporting staff to develop effective approaches to engaging and motivating emotionally unsettled pupils. Equally, the school recognizes the challenges presented to teachers by pupils’ emotional needs and intervenes swiftly to provide support to prevent teachers being overwhelmed. The school has an excellent mental health professional development programme for all teaching and support staff. All members of staff contribute to an excellent daily review of the pressure on staff and action is taken by the leadership team to respond to it whenever possible, usually the same day. Systems for recording incidents which may give rise to high levels of stress are comprehensive. Senior staff continuously analyse and evaluate patterns of stress-related incidents across the school. They take appropriate action promptly to address any emerging concerns. Staff absence is lower than the national average for secondary schools and absence through mental ill-health is in the lowest quartile for all schools. Where teachers have been absent for more than 7 days, a well-understood protocol is triggered to support them on returning to school. This includes a phased re-entry where appropriate and a reduction in meetings and supervision duties. Teaching staff willingly support their colleagues by, for example, covering for supervision duties where necessary. The school provides an extremely safe environment for teachers.
Mental Health outcomes for teachers are outstanding
Teachers make outstanding professional progress in the school, due to the comprehensive programme of CPD, including a programme of mental-health awareness and support. Teachers in their first year of teaching make excellent progress in the development of their understanding and implementation of Mental Health across the Curriculum. Teachers are able to skilfully discuss mental health with their pupils. Pupils are taught to understand and appreciate the impact of their behaviour on teacher well-being. Pupils report being aware of the importance of their teachers’ well-being and most expressed concern when their teacher was unexpectedly absent through illness. The majority of pupils are confident when discussing mental health issues with their teachers. Pupil voice indicated that teachers led stimulating discussions about the impact of mental ill-health on both pupils and teachers. Work in lessons and in pupils’ books demonstrates excellent progress in the development of mental health skills, including the identification of common mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder. Teachers show excellent understanding of pupils who are caring for an adult relative who is suffering from mental ill-health and the lack of stigma about mental ill-health in the school enables pupils to make their teachers aware of their role as carers. The proportions of pupils making or exceeding expected progress in understanding of mental health and well-being, from their various starting points, are high compared with national figures. Disadvantaged pupils, and those with mental health needs, begin to close the gaps in their previous learning. The school’s baseline assessments demonstrate that pupils join the school with standards of knowledge about mental health which are mostly well below expectations for their age. Most make rapid progress and have closed this gap by the end of KS3. The small number of pupils attending off-site mental health provision make excellent progress. Individual reports from the provision illustrate strong progress in pupils’ understanding of their mental ill-health and their ability to manage their symptoms. Most are able to return to school within a term of their placement.
Unique reference number 1234567Inspection number 10000001DfE registration number 567/5678This inspection was carried out under section 234(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008, the purpose of which is to advise the Secretary of State for Education about the school’s suitability for continued state provision under the Health and Safety Act.
Information about this school
Leafy Lane School is situated in an urban location in Placid Town. It is an Academy for pupils from 11-16. There are currently 900 pupils on roll. The school has more boys than girls. The school uses the services of one off-site mental health provider, Mind Care, a day unit for pupils with mental health needs. The school’s vision is ‘To help teachers and pupils maximise their potential and promote their happiness by looking after their well-being and mental health’.
Information about this inspection
The inspector observed teaching and learning, looked at samples of pupils’ work across all teaching groups and sat in on tutorial discussions about mental health. The inspector met with members of the Well-Being Working Party, the chair of governors, teachers and support staff. The inspector held discussions with individual pupils, teachers and parents. Responses to Ofstem’s Parent View questionnaire were considered. The inspector took into account questionnaires submitted by members of staff. The inspection team considered the school’s well-being and mental health index from the Teach Well Alliance Mental Health for Schools Inventory. The school’s score was in the top 10% of all schools nationally. The inspector scrutinised a number of school policies, procedures and reports of mental health.
Alice MIndful, Lead Inspector: Ofstem
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