Support for teachers' mental health

New research from the Bupa Foundation* has shown that nearly half of teachers found the past half-term the most stressful time they have known, with just 4% saying that they were able to prioritise their wellbeing daily over the past few months. Nine in ten teachers (96%) said that they are worried about the coming half-term.

The research, which surveyed 6,244 teachers nationally, found that external pressures caused by the global pandemic compounded with the challenges of online teaching, workload and accountability are contributing towards a melting pot of pressure for teachers in the UK.

Dr. Paula Franklin, Chief Medical Officer at Bupa and Trustee of the Bupa Foundation said: “The mental health of key workers such as teachers cannot be overlooked as even pre-pandemic, many teachers described themselves as ‘stressed.’

“With a second lockdown underway, it’s really important that communities, leaders and schools come together to support teachers’ mental health. That’s why The Bupa Foundation is working with educators to share its wellbeing expertise with the Wellbeing for Educators programme – it’s a free, practical, evidence-based programme which helps make a positive difference.”

We have partnered with Youth Sport Trust to power the new Well Schools movement which is designed by teachers, for teachers. 33 schools representing more than 23,200 children have helped pioneer Well Schools – which aims to put wellbeing at the heart of education. Any school can become part of Well Schools and access free resources by pledging to put wellbeing at the heart of their school, championing outcomes which go beyond academic performance.

Alex Cole, Chair of the Bupa Foundation said: “In the best of times teachers invest so much time and energy into taking care of others – and in these uncertain times are going above and beyond to support their students, families, local communities and colleagues. We want to do our bit to help schools and support teachers to take care of themselves. Here at the Foundation, we’re passionate about teacher wellbeing so we’re delighted to share our free Wellbeing for Educators programme, including anyone signing up to be part of Well Schools.”

Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “As a charity working day to day with inspiring and committed school staff we understand the pressures and challenges they face right now.  Through Well Schools, we are facilitating a self-improving network of schools which share practice, signpost services and together build momentum behind a powerful pioneering education culture which delivers academic outcomes built on the foundation of physical, social and emotional wellbeing among students and staff.”

*Research was conducted by Teacher Tapp, a daily survey app that asks over 8,000 teachers questions each day and reweights the results to make them representative.  

New Resilience Brilliance podcast!

We’ve also launched a brand new podcast series that shares powerful, personal stories of resilience from leaders. At the Foundation we’re lucky to meet amazing people who are resilience superstars. We thought their stories deserved a wider audience - which is how our Resilience Brilliance podcast was born.

In our launch episodes we talk to Ali Oliver, CEO Youth Sport Trust and Joanna Coates CEO UK Athletics about the power of sport to build resilience (and we learnt that you don’t have to be sporty to benefit from being active!). Ben Levinson, Headteacher at Kensington Primary School and Soofia Amin, the school’s Community and English as an Additional Language lead share how they’ve coped during the pandemic.

We learnt so much from all our guests and hope you do too. Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone in feeling anxious, scared or lacking in confidence from time to time can help. Here are some of the top tips our brilliantly resilient guests have shared:

  1. Give yourself permission to give yourself what you need - Take ten minutes to just pause, have a cup of tea and hit the reset button. Go for that walk or run to clear your head.
  2. Have the right people around you - Surround yourself with people who can lift you up when you need it most. Being resilient isn’t about being strong all the time, it’s fine to ask for help.
  3. Actively manage your energy - What’s the song that gets you back on track or makes you feel on top of the world? When things get too much, what can you let go of? Helping someone else can help you feel good.

All episodes are available to download here or on iTunes. We hope you enjoy listening and we’ll share more episodes soon – in the meantime, please look after yourself.