Our Staff's Wellbeing
Creating a supportive environment where our staff feel valued and able to flourish underpins all we do as an organisation. We feel it is our role, as an employer, to provide a comprehensive range of services for all our staff to access to support them and their wellbeing.
Whether or not staff have a pre-existing mental health condition, it is clear that workplace practices can impact on their mental wellbeing. Poor workplace practices can lead to significant ill health through stress, burnout and poor management. Office for National Statistics data shows that, in 2016, 15.8 million days were lost because of poor mental health (including stress, depression, anxiety and more serious conditions), accounting for 11.5% of all days lost.
The World Health Organisation defines good mental health as: "A state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community.”
By ensuring that staff are supported with their own wellbeing, they in turn will be better equipped to carry out their roles to support our young people and ensure that each of our schools and learning environments are safe and inclusive places where those in the need receive the best support.
This is a fundamental aspect of the Trusts vision to enable all children and young people in our schools to realise their God-given potential, aspire to exceed their expectations and to build a Christ-centred community.
To enable us to deliver our vision and support staff wellbeing on an ongoing basis within our schools we are taking the following measures.
1. EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME
We have partnered with an occupational health provider, Medigold Health and Wellbeing Solutions Management, to provide access to a service that is available to all staff directly employed by the Trust.
As part of the programme, staff are able to access confidential support and counselling via a 24/7, 365, freephone helpline and are also able to access face-to-face counselling support.
The programme can provide practical and professional advice on legal, money, health or personal issues with specialist advisers trained to support the individual. There is also a wealth of guidance, support and self-help materials available on their website.
These services can be accessed by all members of staff and their family (living at their address and aged over 16).
2. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID
Each school within our Trust will have a minimum of two accredited Youth Mental Health First Aiders (YMHFA) who will champion our strategy within their own schools. They have:
- An in depth understanding of mental health and factors that affect wellbeing;
- Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues;
- Confidence to reassure and support people in distress;
- Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening;
- Knowledge to help a people recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether that’s through self-help sites, their place of learning, the NHS, or a mix – engaging with parents, carers and external agencies where appropriate.
3. WELLBEING NEWSLETTER
Each month, all staff receive a wellbeing newsletter covering a range of topics to help promote their physical and mental wellbeing. Previous editions are also available on our website and include articles around exercise, smoking cessation and mental health.
Past copies of the newsletter can be found here.
4. ANNUAL FLU VACCINATION PROGRAMME
Seasonal flu is a big cause of short term illness. It’s highly contagious and can affect a large number of working adults of all ages. We take the wellbeing of our people very seriously and a flu vaccination is a simple way to keep healthy.
We have partnered with Boots pharmacy to offer free flu vaccinations each year to any member of staff that wishes to take up this offer.
5. CRITICAL INCIDENT SUPPORT
Working with a trusted partner staff have access to immediate 24/7 support as well as on-site support.
In the first instance telephone counselling is made available, which immediately connects those traumatised with the right support, at the right time. Their selected team of telephone counsellors are on stand-by around the clock and are all specialist trauma response clinicians.
For most critical incidents, a group counselling session can be the best way to support those individuals worst affected. The on-site group trauma support counselling session is arranged within 48 – 72 hours of the critical incident, as this is when people are in greatest need of support. A follow up group session can be offered after 2 – 3 weeks.
6. UNION RECOGNITION AND CONSULTATION
We are committed to continuously build good relations with the recognised unions which are NEU, NASUWT, ASCL, NAHT, Voice, UNISON, UNITE and GMB. The Trust encourages all employees to join a union and allows area and regional officers to support school-level representatives. The Trust also consults with representatives of the recognised unions on a number of issues and prescribed policies which are then adopted by our schools.
7. SICKNESS ABSENCE POLICY
We have worked, in consultation with unions, to develop a Sickness Absence Policy that establishes a framework for effective management of staff sickness absence taking into account both the welfare of employees by supporting them and our requirements to deliver an effective education to our pupils.
The Southwark Diocesan Board of Education Multi-Academy Trust has created a policy which reflects our duty to be fair and consistent in any dealings with members of staff who are absent due to short or long term sickness. This is particularly important in Church schools, where the network of personal relationships within the school community has as its starting point the Christian gospel, which recognises the uniqueness and value of the individual.