Education across the UK is facing a uniquely difficult moment, facing the twin challenges of ensuring student and staff health amid a pandemic, while also ensuring continuity of learning.
In the immediate future, the imperative is to successfully operate through the pandemic.
While challenges remain, there are also opportunities to seize the moment and reimagine how we can empower professionals to deliver the best post-pandemic education possible.
Long Term Impact of Covid-19
The pandemic has left its mark on education. While the response to the crisis was met with remarkable agility and professionalism, Covid-19 and the impacts on working have had a detrimental effect on the physical and mental health of education professionals.
The upheaval has been swift and far-reaching. From school closures, home working and cancelled examinations, to social distancing, the fear of infection and for some, coming to terms with the deaths of colleagues, students and family members. Looking to the future, there are many important lessons to be learned from this experience.
Greater emphasis needs to be placed on the mental health and wellbeing of education professionals. Sharing and collaboration are key – to unlock successful behaviours and strategies and promote their adoption. School leaders need more adequate support to ensure that they can discharge their responsibilities effectively. The needs of trainee and early career teachers must be identified and met. As we strive to adapt to the ‘new normal’, we need a culture based on openness and trust; where staff feel supported, appreciated and autonomous in order to thrive.
Employee Assistance Programme
Smart School’s Occupational Health Service offers schools an Employee Assistance Programme. Delivered by trained counsellors, the service creates a safe space for school staff to share their problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment. Employees referred via the programme are offered a first appointment within 30 days of a referral.
Returning to Work Strategy
Developing a well-balanced and appropriate strategy for staff returning to work after sickness, bereavement or other external complications is vital for both their performance and the wider performance of the school. The Occupational Health Service works with staff, managers, and HR advisers to develop policies and procedures that are effective and meets legislative requirements.