Leadership wellbeing: It’s good to talk

Firefighting has always come with the territory for headteachers but in the current climate, it may feel for many experienced leaders that it has reached new heights.

With budgets stretched to breaking point and workloads at an all-time high, school leaders need practical strategies to remain at their best and they need to be at their best in order to adequately support and enable their staff to manage their own wellbeing and workloads.

More than ever before, heads need time and space to sustain their own resilience and wellbeing. It is essential to the foundations of our education system, now and for the future.

At the Education Support Partnership, our services for educators include two unique programmes for senior leaders: Headspace and Yourspace.

Bringing small groups of heads and other school leaders in local areas together, our expert facilitators have supported more than 3,000 headteachers throughout the UK in the last decade.

Both programmes create a confidential place with a skilled facilitator to explore and share ideas. Both have been designed and developed by those who know the sector, with Yourspace being introduced for deputy and assistant heads following the success of Headspace.

The groups for both are a chance to share valuable knowledge and experience. We understand there are no quick fixes and our charity’s services reflect the depth of our experience and understanding. For some investment in time, we are told time and again that it works and has a lasting impact on heads’ ability to continue to deliver and perform.

Headspace begins with a day session and is followed by five half-days over a chosen period. A programme typically lasts between six and 12 months and is tailored to meet the needs of headteachers within their local context.

As one head in Suffolk put it: “Headspace is an opportunity to step off the treadmill and to reflect and challenge like-minded colleagues. It gave me the energy and renewed vigour to step back on.”

Having taken part, Participants often report feeling more resilient and more confident for the future. Many say they have felt more able to successfully manage change and come away with improved resilience and the ability to work more effectively.

The importance of good-quality CPD cannot be under-estimated – a point which is once again highlighted by the latest report on the subject, this time from the Education Policy Institute. In it, chief economist Peter Sellen recommends that Ofsted should focus on the quality of CPD given the vital role it can play in helping both teachers and school leaders to bring unmanageable workloads under control.

In addition to our charity’s 24-hour helpline, Headspace also offers confidential, personal support with free access to our specialist advisors and counsellors who are expert at supporting those working in schools. It offers telephone and online support on issues spanning emotional support and counselling, management consultation to help in managing others, legal advice and guidance.

As we all know, the more hampered, overworked and stressed heads are, the less likely it is that their staff teams will be happy, in turn having a negative impact on the children and young people in their schools. In such uncertain times, investment in greater support for heads could not be more important.

How we can help

  • Help for you  
    Sometimes work (or just life) can be tough. A challenging student, an Ofsted inspection, personal financial worries; there are many stresses on those who work in education. That’s why we offer free, confidential help and support, no matter what your problem.
  • Help for your staff 
    Working in education is demanding so we’ve designed a set of services to help you check how your teams are coping, troubleshoot problems and boost everyone’s wellbeing.