#CaringIsSharing : Considering Staff health and wellbeing

What a good idea of @MartynReah to invite and encourage others to write a guest blog on the theme of #CaringIsSharing. Here is my contribution.

When deciding what to write about I picked up on the two key words ‘Caring’ and ‘Sharing’.

With regards to ‘Caring’ and thinking about the context of school, staff health and wellbeing immediately sprung to mind. Staff are our biggest and in my view the most important and valuable resource in school. Rightly so, we expect hard work and high standards from the staff team. In order for this to happen in a way that staff feel valued and supported, staff health and wellbeing must be considered. Again, it is not only me that has been recognising, exploring and discussing this important area as it has been an area which has been voted for discussion on more than one @SLTChat #SLTChat earlier this year.

I am delighted that in July 2014, in addition to the Investor’s in People Award at Gold Level, @CamberwellPark, we were also awarded the separate Investors in People ‘Health and Wellbeing Award for the second time. This blog is therefore about ‘Sharing’ some examples of the things we have implemented in our school that have made a difference to staff health and wellbeing:

  • An established health and wellbeing group with a representative from all staff peer groups in school. The group meets once each half term
  • Staff health and wellbeing / work-life balance is discussed routinely as part of appraisal meetings for all staff to ensure all staff have access to a personalised, confidential discussion and to give health and wellbeing high status
  • Staff have access to a counsellor for solution focussed discussions ( she attends school once per week to deliver play therapy sessions for the children and staff can make lunchtime appointments to see her)
  • Tea, coffee, milk, sugar, hot chocolate available to staff free of charge in the staffroom
  • Massage chairs in the staffroom
  • Staff surveys specifically about health and wellbeing – finding out how staff feel about a range of issues across school – how they affect them and things that make a difference to them.
  • Having an allocation to staff health and wellbeing in the budget
  • Health and wellbeing related training sessions e.g. stress management

The staff team are really important to me. I am Passionate about working alongside my colleagues as part of the whole team, I am Respectful of their individual needs as members of staff, I ensure we have an Organised, consistent and transparent approach to health and wellbeing, I Understand that people are human beings as well as members of staff and as such have an open-door to support with personal and professional issues as they arrive and I am Dedicated to enabling and empowering my staff to be the best they can be in their jobs which in turn means the pupils receive the highest possible standards of provision. I am #PROUD to be the headteacher of Camberwell Park School.

With regards to nominating a colleague who doesn’t usually blog – I would like to encourage and nominate Jay Virk (@virkjay). She is always so very caring and willing to share with all of her twitter colleagues. I would love to read a Caring is Sharing Blog from her – come on Jay!

Mary Isherwood


Originally written  and published on August 21st 2014 to feature as a guest blog for @MartynReah – see links below:








2 thoughts on “#CaringIsSharing : Considering Staff health and wellbeing

  1. Debbie Inglis (@HTcoach)

    Congratulations Mary on the dual IIP awards. Must be a lovely reward for yourself and your staff, and a testament to the value you put on people. I agree that your staff (and yourself!) are your most valuable resource in school, and also that it’s important to budget for staff wellbeing. I love the idea of massage chairs in the staffroom! Must remember to suggest it at the school where I’m chair of gov’s 🙂

    1. maryisherwood Post author

      Thank you Debbie for your support and kind words.
      It is important to me to enable the staff to operate at their best in order for the pupils to receive the best. Also – I want staff to enjoy being at work – yes we work hard but why can’t we have fund doing it! The massage chairs weren’t very expensive – you know the Homedics ones that sit on top of existing chairs in the staffroom. They are ideal for staff breaks as they have 10 minute settings. When working in such a physical job – lots of moving, handling, bending down in the classrooms – they make a difference!

      With best wishes


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