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Support for staff

School staff work tirelessly to provide the best possible provision for the children in their care; academic and pastoral, and this can also extend to working closely and supporting families.  Their work can also incorporate working with social care and mental health teams.

An education setting’s caring ethos and environment will have a major impact on the wellbeing of its staff and pupils. It’s important for leaders to define that culture and vision, making it clear what behaviours, values and beliefs underpin it.

It is important too for the leadership team to build a culture of trust where staff feel valued, can be open about their health and wellbeing and know how to access support if they need it. For all of this to happen, it is essential for the head teacher and the leadership team to model good mental health and wellbeing behaviour and practice.

Mentally Healthy Schools

As such, it is important for staff to keep a check on their own wellbeing and that of others.  We have a number of strategies to support staff starting with an 'open door' culture, where staff are encourage to talk and share.  We have a number of forums and network meetings to get involved in and we encourage staff to work in a way that suits them - for instance, heading home at the end of the school day to work from there.

We, at St Nics, focus on...

  1. Giving staff a voice in decision-making 
  2. Driving down unnecessary workload
  3. Embedding wellbeing in training and professional development
  4. Providing staff with tools and resources to support wellbeing
From time to time, further support might be needed.  Below are a number of places our staff can go to...

My Black Dog - a community-focused platform offering peer-to-peer conversations for people who are struggling with mental health challenges and trauma.

MiSP - Mindfulness in Schools Project

  1. Deal with life as it is now

I have tried, as much as possible, to live in the present. Yes, I have to do some forward planning but the best thing I have found for my own mental health is to focus on ‘what now’ and ‘what next’.

  1. Control what is controllable

Was there ever a time when so much was out of our control? I try and focus as much as possible on what I can do, rather than everything I would like to do or influence but can’t.

  1. Use my network

One of our strategic goals at Kensington is ‘all in this together’. This has really come to the fore. The whole team has really stepped up and so many people are looking out for me and checking in. My chief executive has been a massive support as have the other headteachers in the Trust. I rely hugely on my immediate family and friends, all of whom are incredible.

  1. Focus on the essentials

Receiving huge amounts of information can be difficult to process. Our chief executive has taken on sifting this, analysing it, and boiling it down to the essentials. This has been transformative to my wellbeing.

  1. Be thankful

I am in an incredibly fortunate position for so many reasons. Regularly listing what I have to be thankful for gives me perspective.

  1. Exercise

Whenever I hit a low, the best way to get out of it is to break a sweat.

How we look after our own wellbeing is deeply personal, but I hope some of this may resonate. There is much more: from meditation to taking time away to getting outdoors (with all the caveats). I hope you are keeping well. Prioritise looking after yourself. If you don’t, it could undermine your ability to be strong when everyone needs you the most.

Ben Levinson, Headteacher of Kensington Primary School



St Nicholas C of E Primary School
Sarajac Avenue
East Challow
OX12 9RY


01235 763858