Being the lead governor at my school for mental health and wellbeing, I am always keen to promote and find new ways of supporting the pupils and staff of the school. Some of the key initiatives taken this year are outlined here.
FOR THE HEADTEACHER
When we appointed our new head teacher, one of the things we decided to put in place was a strategy to ensure that they were fully supported with their own wellbeing as part of their induction. They also quickly formed a supportive network of other school leaders within the local area as a point of reference. As a board we also recognised the importance that they utilised their dedicated headship time to allow them to strategically plan/undertake their own CPD, without being interrupted or becoming involved with the day to day running of the school. Another important strategy was meeting with them on a weekly basis face to face, for a ‘touch point’; just to see how things were progressing and to see if there was any additional support needed from the board. As time has progressed these meetings have become less frequent (every two or three weeks) and are interspersed with conversations via the telephone. The one constant factor being that at some point in our conversation we would look at their personal wellbeing and if any additional support was required.
FOR THE SCHOOL STAFF
During this first year the head, with board support, has initiated a number of new initiatives which have made the team feel more valued and also improved their wellbeing/happiness. These have included a 'shout out' board for staff to put up ‘Post-it’ notes when they see another member of the team do something extraordinary that can then be celebrated during staff meetings - the power of a simple "thank you" should not be underestimated. Also a number of teams have been set up around specific areas of the school (or for certain events) – where staff can volunteer meet regularly to discuss certain areas of the school i.e. - the playground or Christmas performance. Another whole school initiative involves all teaching assistants and support staff, in addition to teachers, now having regular meetings with their line manager to discuss their own personal development and which also includes their own wellbeing.
FOR THE GOVERNING BODY
As a Governing Body we also made an effort to work smarter. We invested in a service which allows for all the relevant documents, policies and procedures to be uploaded to a central server which all the Governors can access. This then enables policies and documents to be read at any time and commented on/ questions raised prior to board meetings. This has not only reduced the meeting times, but also increased the strategic questioning around the Head’s report and other reports and agenda items.
As governors I feel it is of paramount importance that we take a leading role in the wellbeing culture of the school and that everyone plays their part.