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Ask Andy – Blog 2

Positive Changes

As we approached midnight on 31st December, I counted down my time as a Headteacher and then started to look forward to the challenges that lay ahead as Director of Wellbeing for Schools Advisory Service.

The last month has been tumultuous not only in terms of the weather but in terms of the change that overtakes you when you move jobs especially when that move is into an industry which is new to you. I’m not sure I knew how different life would be, but it is worth reflecting on how challenging moving jobs can be. I’m loving the work I’m doing now but even so it is still a change from the normal routine which has been normal for 30 years. If you do move jobs, you can expect that it will take time to adjust.

Having said that, the team at Schools Advisory Service have been awesome in their welcome. They really are an amazing team. The team live what we all say, about wellbeing being important and John and Gemma showed their appreciation for the staff at SAS on Valentine’s Day by hanging heart shaped balloons on every chair at the office!

Valuing staff is really critical in developing a strong team ethic and there is no doubt that every member of the SAS team plays their part. I can’t thank them enough for their welcome for me as a new member of staff.

The last month has been really busy as you’d expect, not least because we have launched a new product with NAHT called Wellness and Protect. This partnership between the biggest leadership union in Western Europe and us as the market leader in wellbeing and budget protection gives NAHT members a huge number of benefits such as:

  • Paid wellbeing days off for all staff covered under the policy
  • Free travel to and from NAHT CPD events
  • Higher claim payments
  • Staff counselling and physiotherapy
  • Nurse and GP support
  • Private medical therapies and surgeries
  • Mental health support for the whole school

You can access more about this product in the attachment below.

Wellness and Protect

The month has been busy talking to senior leaders about this product and the services that we offer. I’ve been to Bolton Leadership Conference, where we heard Professor Mick Waters tell the conference that if there is one stand you should visit it is the wellbeing stand! He went on to say that it is really important that we look after the wellbeing of our staff and pupils.

I also attended the NAHT Leadership Summit in London where we talked to school leaders and heard from Amy Williams MBE about the small margins that make all the difference in elite performance.

Jamie Peacock and I had the pleasure of visiting an academy in Worksop where Jamie ran one of his Be a Champion sessions and I also managed to squeeze in a visit to a primary school in Nottingham for a useful conversation with the school business manager.

I’ve had some very useful conversations with senior leaders about the wellbeing needs of schools and I know that there is a great deal of concern about the current inspection framework especially as wellbeing is front and centre of the framework.

As a result, I’ve created a set of resources for schools and school leaders to audit themselves against Ofsted’s wellbeing expectations. It’s a broad enough resource to allow you to demonstrate your own school context and circumstances but asks the questions you are likely to be asked. If you would like a copy these, they will soon be available soon from the Pastoral and Wellbeing Resources section of the SAS website.

However, I know that Ofsted aren’t the be all and end all, and that school leaders will be looking to build a school wide wellbeing culture, so I’ve have created a set of tools to help develop this and will be speaking about these resources at the Yorkshire NAHT conference in Barnsley on 26th March.

If you’d like me to come and talk to a group of school leaders or to individual schools, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Over the coming month I have a number of interesting meetings which will allow us to look at how we support school leader’s wellbeing going forward. It’s usually the Chair of Governors who have this responsibility, but do we really know how to meet the wellbeing needs of the person who is charged with responsibility for the school community’s wellbeing?

Have a good month and don’t forget to bookmark this blog and the 4 Pillars of Wellbeing blog I’m continuing over the next 2 weeks.

Ask Andy

If you have questions about wellbeing practice, would like to suggest future content for Andy's blogs or if you are having success with wellbeing culture in your school and would like to share your story, please complete the form below.