Blog by Lisa Fathers, Director of Teaching School & Partnerships
Love is about social connection, kindness, empathy and as we celebrate Valentine’s Day we reflect on how we can facilitate those things at school level and across the TSA.
Schools are challenging, relentless, day after day teachers are giving 100% to the school they work in. Every class or form is different, different personalities, different behaviour, varied learning needs, individual targets, differentiated schemes of work and this is without even thinking about evening work load or that lesson observation that might be looming in the future…….
So, yes teachers have to be resilient but school leaders have to be sensible, supportive and place staff wellbeing at the heart of every decision. Teachers & Support Staff are without a doubt the best resource in school and we have to role model ‘putting our own oxygen mask on first’. The Alliance for Learning Teaching School has been supporting schools develop their wellbeing offer whilst providing quality CPD. Teachers do one of the most valuable jobs in our society –yet we know retention data in our profession is alarming. At the ‘Alliance for Learning SCITT’ ( School Centered Initial Teacher Training) we not only ensure all our trainees complete MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) but we actually go and deliver this at cost to lots of other ITT providers too because fundamentally we believe it is as crucial for our new teachers, as learning classroom management techniques.
Whole school approaches……It is essential that schools have a wellbeing strategy and that specialist CPD like ‘Mental Health First Aid’ and ‘Mindfulness’ fits into that. At Cedar Mount Academy in Gorton they have been making full use of the teaching school offer whilst leading from the front with all sorts of wellbeing initiatives. You may have seen the school featured on BBC Breakfast TV last week.
With our GM Mentally Healthy Schools Programme in partnership with Youth Sport Trust, Place 2Be, 42nd Street and of course driven by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership we have been encouraging staff to talk openly about & celebrate mental health and wellbeing every single week.
The wellbeing approach is not a soft option though and it allows staff and students to be their best. At BFET we believe that children get one shot at school and it is vital that they receive the highest quality experiences & teaching to equip them for life and their next steps in education, training & employment. We have created a Mental Health policy and we have a real commitment to Coaching in our schools. We have at least five Mental Health First Aiders in every BFET school trained through the Alliance for Learning.
Essentially, leaders lead well, teachers teach best and learners learn best when all feel supported and wanted within their school.
ON VALENTINES DAY WE URGE YOU TO CHOOSE LOVE AND LEAD WITH COMPASSION.