Advisory group to examine pressure on teachers

Advisory group to examine pressure on teachers

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced a new advisory group which will examine how teachers and school leaders can be better supported to deal with the pressures of the job.

The Advisory Group will bring together head teachers and principals, teaching and college unions, professional bodies and mental health charity Mind to work with the government to look at how to promote better wellbeing for teachers.

Addressing school and college leaders and teachers at the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham, Hinds said:

"Teaching requires high levels of selflessness as teachers always put the good of their pupils first. Happy, motivated, well supported teachers are more likely to have happy and motivated pupils in their classrooms.

"The group will provide expert advice and work with us to look at how we as the Government and school leaders as the employers can promote wellbeing among our dedicated teaching staff."

Hinds' speech follows plans introduce compulsory health education in schools, which aims to teach children how to look after their mental wellbeing and recognise when classmates may be struggling. This forms part of the government’s new relationships, sex and health education guidance.

General secretary of ASCL, Geoff Barton, welcomed the proposals:

"Teaching is a fulfilling and demanding job, and we have perhaps been too ready in the past to regard the pressures which are part of teaching as something which goes with the territory.

"We now have a much improved awareness of mental health and wellbeing across society, and schools are well aware of the importance of this issue for pupils and staff. The establishment of an expert group to look at how schools can be better supported in their work around mental health and wellbeing is a good idea and we look forward to its recommendations.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said:

"Mental health problems at work are common in all workplaces, and although we have made great strides, mental health is still a taboo subject. The ‘Thriving at Work’ report led by Lord Dennis Stevenson and myself found in many workplaces, opportunities are being missed to prevent poor mental health, including the education sector.

"Through our ‘Whole School Approach’ programme, teachers and school leaders have been telling us that they need more support for their mental health and wellbeing at work. That’s why we welcome the Education Secretary’s commitment to support teachers and school leaders. Teaching staff do an incredibly important and demanding job, so employers need to support their staff so that they can come into work at their best."

"The first, and arguably most important step, will be to start a conversation about mental health that empowers teachers, and make sure they have access to the right training and guidance to support themselves, their colleagues and their students."

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