Revolution or Evolution? Ways forward for Wellbeing

Amongst the debate about the reduction and management of workload and the place of wellbeing in our schools we sometimes hear a call for wholesale system change; reduce the workload by reducing the work. How likely is this to happen? As much as a class of twenty-four, all the resources we could wish for and a whole day out of class a week would be ideal, the health and social care sectors of public services would want to see the same level of investment.

Regardless of the outcome of 8th June, we aren’t going to see this. This is Britain 2017, not Tsarist Russia 1917. There isn’t a balding, bearded man in a crumpled suit about to disembark at Waterloo station to lead the revolution. We are far too polite; even the most momentous national decision of recent years was down to some 33 million or so people marking a cross on a piece of paper.

So we won’t have a political revolution, nor a revolution in our profession. Yet we have a crisis in retention and recruitment that requires urgent attention, and it is workload and wellbeing that seems to lie at its heart. Teachers leaving within five years of qualification, more experienced and hence more expensive staff ‘encouraged’ on their way and three reports on workload of which a number of schools and teachers are not aware; was this envisioned in the call ‘Education, Education, Education.’ twenty years ago?

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Change needs to be made. Not by revolution but through evolution. As we have blogged before, development needs to be driven through an alteration in culture. Whilst wellbeing is for everyone, and needs to embraced by everyone, leadership needs to be the driving force that moves wellbeing forward.

Without repeating what we have said before, we believe wellbeing needs to be principled https://healthyteachertoolkit.wordpress.com/2016/12/18/putting-wellbeing-and-workload-into-practice  and driven by solid core values https://healthyteachertoolkit.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/healthy-values-what-drives-our-team and should never be viewed as a bolt-on attachment or a tick-box exercise https://healthyteachertoolkit.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/wellbeing-it-isnt-a-tick-box-exercise

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What this culture will look like cannot be dictated, as every school context will differ. The small village primary is a different beast from a large inner city secondary. It will be intriguing to hear how a shared culture develops within MATs, especially those which are cross-phase and others with a wide geographical spread. Principles and values however can be shared.

Wellbeing needs to grow within the context of the school and needs to be considered holistically as ultimately it will benefit the whole school community. Happy, healthy teachers should mean happy, healthy and successful learners.

Tonight we at @HealthyToolkit host #SLTChat and we are looking forward to hearing how this culture is growing and developing in UK schools. See you at 8pm!

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