This summer, just before the exams situation dominated the headlines, we askedthree leading educational figures to contribute to a free guide, “14 Proven Ways to Transform Staff Wellbeing in Your School.”
Paul Jackson, Headteacher of Manorfield Primary School, a large Primary School in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Mark Eager, Principal of Brixham College, a Secondary School on the coast of Devon.
John Rooney, who recently took over the Headship at The McAuley School, a secondary-aged Academy in Doncaster.
The guide was published following the launch of our new feedback tool Welbee ‘Voice’, which is a simple to use system to encourage anonymous and open conversations.
It has now been downloaded by close to 1000 school leaders, which shows just how crucial this issue is for everyone.
Over the next few weeks, we will catch up with each of our three experts to get a snapshot into their key insights and share them here on our press page.
First up is Paul Jackson, Headteacher of Manorfield Primary School.
He advises focusing on your own wellbeing before anything else.
"Prioritising my own wellbeing goes against my instincts, as I’m sure it does for most school leaders, but I’ve come to realise that if I look after my own wellbeing, then everyone around me will benefit.
My family will have a much more pleasant weekend as a result of me being in a ‘better place’, and the same is true for school settings. We must start with ourselves, piloting our own wellbeing just as the airline staff ask us to “Please ensure your own oxygen mask is securely in place before helping others.”
Paul is also keen on creating a culture of positivity and kindness.
"Sadly, we are surrounded by a lot of negative energy in today’s busy world. Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, the average staff member’s journey to work was less than inspiring – heavy traffic, dark mornings for much of the year, and miserable news headlines. As people, we are more productive and happier when surrounded by positivity.
We need to focus on the great things around us, becoming ‘glass half-full’ people. As school leaders, we have to fight against the negativity. Creating a general culture of kindness, happiness, and positivity is easier than it sounds, but it cannot be taken for granted, especially in schools that are serving challenging communities."
Creating an inclusive social calendar is another of Paul’s top tips.
Creating activities for staff to be ‘real people’ together has been key to our staff wellbeing. Understanding each other, talking to each other, and providing a support network for each other has led to a happier, more productive workforce.
A key here is remembering that not everyone enjoys (or can afford) going to the pub every Friday night. It is important to remember that some people do though! We aim for our ‘social calendar’ to be as inclusive as possible."
To see more from Paul, including what a typical year of social activity might look like, you can get a copy of our free report HERE.
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