New expert group to focus on teacher wellbeing

2019-03-25

Education secretary Damian Hinds has unveiled proposals for an expert advisory group that will help the government to find new ways to support teacher wellbeing.


Making the announcement at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham, Mr Hinds said that the wellbeing of teachers cannot be taken for granted.


The new advisory group will focus on how better wellbeing for teachers can be promoted and draws on expertise from head teachers, teaching unions, professional bodies and Mind, the mental health charity.


It forms part of plans to improve the culture in schools by improving the day-to-day experiences of teachers by addressing their workload concerns, tackling poor behaviour and by simplifying the accountability system.


Mr Hinds said there is a need for society to enhance its understanding of mental health and wellbeing, including that of teachers as well as pupils.


“Teaching requires high levels of selflessness as teachers always put the good of their pupils first,” he explained.


“I’m clear that your [teacher] wellbeing is also something we need to prioritise.”


Mr Hinds explained that the advisory group “will provide expert advice” while focusing on how the government and school leaders can promote wellbeing to those in primary and secondary school teaching jobs.


“Happy motivated, well supported teachers are more likely to have happy and motivated pupils in their classrooms, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we’re all here,” he told those at the conference.


The advisory group is set to discuss concerns with head teachers and school leaders before making recommendations to the Department for Education on the best approaches to take.


ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton has welcomed the proposals and said the union is looking forward to finding out what recommendations are produced.


Meanwhile, Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said the key steps are to “start a conversation about mental health that empowers teachers” and to provide the right training and guidance so that teachers can support themselves.


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