- Posted by Chris Lincoln
- On 18th April 2017
Evolve and one of its education partners, Altruist Enterprises, are working together to reduce and manage teacher stress at a time when one in three teachers are taking sick leave as a result of work-related stress each year.
Altruist founder and director Katie Buckingham reported that surveys of 3,500 teachers by the NASUWT teaching union found that stress is the biggest cause of staff absence and two-thirds of teachers have considered quitting the profession.
Award-winning social entrepreneur Katie, who has previous personal experience of mental ill health, said rising levels of stress are having a huge impact on individuals and costing schools through lost teaching days and the use of supply teachers.
“Recent findings and statistics show considerable increases in work-related mental and physical health problems, with 83 per cent of teachers reporting workplace stress,” Katie added.
“In the past, schools didn’t take as much notice of teachers’ mental health, but when teaching staff can’t cope, are depressed or self-harm and take sick leave, this also means pupils miss out on their learning.
“If teachers have poor mental health, this has a detrimental impact on their pupils and students too. Both Altruist and Evolve recognise this and work to tackle these problems.”
Altruist delivers resilience, stress management and mental health awareness workshops, and e-learning courses to help teachers prevent, identify and manage stress. This supports Evolve by delivering sessions to teaching staff in Evolve member schools.
A study by Leeds Beckett University found that Evolve Health Mentors working in schools improve the emotional wellbeing of both pupils and staff. Evolve also hosts after-school workshops to give teachers the strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of both pupils and colleagues. Meanwhile, an after-school running club for teaching staff founded by East Midlands Regional Manager Chris Lincoln is boosting wellbeing too.
Katie delivered a talk to Evolve Health Mentors at their conference to help them build student resilience and is working in schools that access Project HE:RO.
Evolve’s West Yorkshire Regional Manager, Sascha MacDonald, who also has responsibility for developing partnerships, said Alturist is an important new partner because they offer schools training ahead of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) updated version of the Management Standards for Stress. The updated standards will enable workplaces to respond proactively to the issue and help develop healthy workplaces.
“This mental health-focused training will also help the schools’ senior management teams to reduce the cost of absenteeism and litigation,” Sascha says. “The education sector has the second highest number of stress-related claims.”