A study by the University of London "Staff wellbeing is key to school success: A research study into the links between staff wellbeing and school performance" (University of London/ Worklife Support Ltd, 2007) concluded that
"if we want to improve school performance, we also need to start paying attention to teacher wellbeing. How teachers feel on an everyday basis is likely to affect their performance and so, in turn, the performance of the pupils they teach. This may happen in several ways. For example, happier, motivated teachers may make pupils feel happier, motivated and more confident. Happier teachers may also be able to concentrate better on the job of teaching, and experience more motivation to help pupils in need of special attention.
At the same time, because this study cannot clearly establish cause and effect, it may also be the case that improving school performance has positive impacts on teacher wellbeing.
What seems most likely that there is a two-way relationship between teacher wellbeing and pupil performance. Just as increases in teacher wellbeing can lead to improvements in the performance of pupils, so increases in pupil performance may lead to increased wellbeing in teachers. If so, both virtuous circles and downward spirals are possible. In the former, improvements in teacher wellbeing may lead to improved pupil performance, which in turn leads to improved teacher wellbeing, and so on. In the latter, a reduction in teacher wellbeing at a school might lead to poorer pupil results, leading to a further drop in teacher wellbeing, and so on."
Staff wellbeing at school survey and guidance
Wiltshire schools can use this survey and guidance to enhance their wellbeing provision.
Use of these tools can be included as evidence for Wiltshire Healthy Schools criteria around improving staff wellbeing.
The survey and guidance was developed and trialled by B&NES Council and local schools, working with the Diocese of Bath & Wells, Bath and NE Somerset NEU, NAHT and NASUWT.
How to use these documents
- Introduce the survey, perhaps at a meeting or training day
- Invite all members of school staff (not just teaching staff) to anonymously complete the survey, either immediately or later in their own time
- Collect in the completed surveys and analyse the results, perhaps RAG rating the responses
- Form a group of volunteers, to respond to the survey within a specific time period e.g. 6/12 or 18 months
- Report first on what the school is doing well and then on identified areas for development
- Use the guidance document for ideas to implement
- After implementing actions, resurvey staff and assess progress