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Improving Staff Welfare

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by Lamb_michael, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Lamb_michael

    Lamb_michael New commenter

    My school have offered me the opportunity to work on improving staff welfare. I am keen to hear from anyone with ideas about good resources, policies, strategies, etc.
    Many thanks in advance.
  2. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Look at workload. Decide what really needs to be done and consider how to make it easier, and what is really a waste of time and stop it. That would make a huge difference.
  3. CandysDog

    CandysDog Occasional commenter

  4. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    If - as you should - you decide to tackle workload, don't make unilateral choices over the changes. Discuss with the staff and have a collegiate response,
  5. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Encourage, enable staff to work smarter. You could look at the whole workload does everything need to be done, look at things that don't improve outcomes. In this some teachers can be their own worst enemies.
    Lamb_michael likes this.
  6. fineliner

    fineliner Occasional commenter

    Do all staff have a neat tidy area in which to work when not teaching and somewhere to let off steam without being criticised when needed?
    Lamb_michael and jarndyce like this.
  7. bobtes

    bobtes New commenter

    We have set up a staff wellbeing committee with representatives from all sections - teachers, TA, admin etc. Meet once a half term. Very well supported by SLT. Have already instigated a whole staff survey on workload and are putting things into place as a result of that. Workings on other things like staff "buddies" for new staff, people just promoted etc so that everyone has someone they can go to for advice, or to let off steam as fineliner mentions above.
    Lamb_michael and Landofla like this.
  8. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I've seen efforts to improve staff welfare before. It always seems to revolve around offering a coffee morning once per half term, or free biscuits in the staff room. Sometimes it's a gym membership that staff can request to use.

    In short, it always seems to be about doing things that act as an additional extra.

    The problem is that teachers don't have the time to enjoy these things because they are too exhausted or too busy. Who has time to go to the staffroom at break time? If you're on duty you miss it anyway; if you're not, you only have 15 minutes to get to the toilets (on the other side of the building) and be back in time to be at your door and greet the students who are sent to line up 5 minutes before the end of break.

    For me, staff welfare is and should be about reducing workload so that they can enjoy their own lives much more (we actually have our own families, interests and hobbies that we'd like to spend time on, we don't need a gym membership providing for us, we just need the TIME to enjoy our own)

    I'd strongly advise starting my looking at workload. Particularly deadlines. One thing that always baffled me was that mock exams were in November, just a week before y11 parents' evening. So obviously we were expected to feedback on the mock at the parents' evening, giving just 5 working days to mark 90 exam papers. Inevitably, that takes up entire evenings.

    Is the school calendar forcing evening/weekend working by its very design? If you have a parents evening in the same week that reports are due for another year group, or if PPA is lost due to an INSET day yet there's aa work scrutiny for exercise books planned that same week?

    I remember one occasion where students were doing one of those Citizenship-related days. All staff were involved. We'd had to use free periods to get together and plan as a year team (I was a year 10 tutor at the time), then on the actual day, I'd been scheduled to have 2 hours of PPA which was cancelled whilst I delivered the Citizenship unit instead. Later that week, there was a parents' evening too. So 2 hours PPA lost, working til 7.30pm another evening...obviously this meant all of my marking had fallen behind. The following week we had a book scrutiny, and I knew I needed to catch up. So my weekend was a sea of marking. That's not considering staff wellbeing.
  9. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Managing the calendar is (a) critical to just about everything including staff welfare, (b) a grade A* nightmare to do. Worse, if you invite people to contribute to the planning, they don't until the whole thing is published and set in stone, when they start complaining! One school I worked at had several iterations of the draft calendar published for comment, then an open calendar meeting when interested parties could bargain for space and schedule. The rule there was that if you or your delegate didn't show up to the meeting, you got what you were given - brutal but not entirely unfair.
    But @Eva_Smith you are exactly right about the calendar and its impact.
  10. Lamb_michael

    Lamb_michael New commenter

    Thanks all for so many useful replies and advice. There are many elements mentioned here that I am working on, notably designing a staff survey and setting up a more effective staff committee. I agree with @Eva_Smith that it mustn't just be 'add ons' as certainly many staff feel that it is just something else they need to do. The rhythm of the year is key, undoubtedly, too. Considering staff pressures as well as pupils and other operational issues when designing the calendar is crucial.

    I hope this thread continues..... any other thoughts anyone?
  11. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    We had a Staff Wellbeing Week for a while. It was a week were no meetings / parents evening / etc were scheduled after school at all, and HODS / HOYS were told they couldn't call any meetings that week. We had free cake in the staff room at break times, and I think they even had a Zumba class after school for staff who wanted it. HOWEVER it has now got silly with staff being told they have to bring in cakes on particular days of the week. So for example Monday, the English department and the ICT department would be responsible for providing the cakes for the whole staff room. Why are we paying for the cakes in a Wellbeing week? My department consists of me. So on the day that my dept is supposed to be providing cake, I have to produce several trays of cakes just by myself or risk being seen as selfish etc.

    What I WOULD have liked are some free after school 'enrichment' classes for staff e.g. sign language, zumba, yoga etc that run all academic year to give staff something they can do that is not teaching related, and that is free.

    I do know a school that gave staff 2 x Wellbeing perks which sounded great
    1) Each member of staff had 2 'get out of jail' vouchers where if you produced your voucher with at least 24 hours notice, you could get out of teaching a particular class and SLT would cover you. So if you had a nightmare Year 9 class Period 5 on a Friday, you could get out of it twice a year.
    2) Staff were also given 1 'duvet day' each academic year and as long as they provided 5 working days notice, they could have a day off and again SLT would cover for them.

    I also hear tell of a rumour from a friend that he works in a school where they tried to compensate staff for all the extra work they do in the Spring term with exam classes. Every time a staff member did extra curricular clubs, or ran a revision session, or came in during half term to do rehearsals, or supervised kids at an event etc, their name went in the pot. So someone who did a lot of extra stuff at school might have their name in the pot 15 or 16 times etc. In first week of the last half term of the academic year, they did a big prize draw where one member of staff's name is pulled out of the hat, and they are given 1 week off, paid during the last half term to take when they want. It allowed the staff member chosen to have time off with their kids, or to go on a cheap last minute holiday outside of the tradition school holidays etc. Apparently it went down VERY well with staff although it only lasted 2 years before another head took over, and cancelled it.

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