In a look at stress management training for school leaders, we highlight the areas some recent course participants felt were of particular value, the practical tools they will take away, and the importance they expressed of attending such training.
For anyone who’s either taught in or worked at a school, is a parent or a school pupil, there’s no disputing that education can be a stressful profession.
The statistics back up our observations. The HSE list education as one of the 3 industries with higher-than-average rates of stress, depression or anxiety over a 3-year period from 2018/19. And according to data revealed by a freedom of information request, local authorities in England and Wales have recorded over 7 million teacher days lost to stress and mental health in the past 5 years.
As with many issues, there is no one answer, and many of the suggested solutions are outwith our remit.
However, there is reason to be optimistic.
Although we have been warned participants probably won't engage well with stress management training, due to a feeling of despondency that there is nothing they can do to change their working practices to reduce the risk of stress. Our experience is the reverse. Our trainers have found participants eager to engage with new processes they can put into practice and try to reduce the risk of stress in their schools.
We thought it might be helpful to share observations from some recent training we delivered which was arranged and attended by head teachers, lead teachers, and business managers.
Stress Management Training -
School Leaders & Business Managers
3-hour virtual Stress Management for Managers training course
Group size and make up
This group consisted of 13 people; 7 head teachers, 2 lead teachers, and 4 school business managers
The pressures felt by participants:
- Stresses related to Covid
- Supporting students with social anxiety
- Issues arising from financial crisis that will impact students
- Increased incidents of antisocial behaviour and self-harm
- Tighter budgets and rising energy costs
- Teachers passionate about teaching but having to do administrative work
- Burnout risk - teachers who are passionate will just keep going and going
- Long-term stress related absences
Areas of the training participants particularly valued:
- Proactivity about managing the risk of stress – until now they felt they had been firefighting and solely reactive
- Recognising the early warning signs of stress -
- Helpful to prevent stress related illness by recognising these signs in others and taking action
- Knowing how to support each other - such as recognising that someone has had a tough week and suggesting a lunch time walk
- Recognising vulnerability in others and pull people back to health
Practical tools participants were grateful to take away:
- Stress Container
- Work Pressure Profiling
- CUSP™ – participants felt this tool opened up opportunities to explore.
Before, they felt stuck, like they couldn't make adjustments within the constraints of the curriculum, working hours, etc, but CUSP™ helped them look at things differently and to think outside the box.
You can find out more about CUSP™ by clicking on this link which takes you to a short 3min podcast explaining the model.
The value participants expressed after attending Stress Management Training
The consensus was that it was a valuable 3-hour training session and also an opportunity to network across a range of schools to share experience, explore issues and explain their viewpoints. Discussions were sparked about putting stress on the agenda, sharing ideas on approaches, and the importance of celebrating successes and achievements.
Each school took away an action plan they had created by the end of the course in order to help put things in place on their return.
Feedback comments following this training included:
“Work pressure profiling: really useful to have a clear process to work through and unpick what the issues are so that these can be addressed more effectively.”
What will you do differently as a result of attending this training?
“Find ways to talk to staff about stress and help identify changes to prevent this or lessen the effects of it.”
“It was a really worthwhile few hours that has helped me in my thinking around this subject and will result in a number of changes to practice in my school.”
Full details about our Stress Management Training for Managers course and all our other stress management courses can be found by clicking the above button.
We have also put together a Stress Management Resources page with links to many practical guides and articles.
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