At Heatherlands, we believe our staff are our greatest resource in ensuring learning is inspirational for our pupils. Staff who feel truly valued, are well supported and have a sensible work/life balance will not only impact learners but have enjoyable careers and be hugely successful themselves.
The current debate around teacher workload continues. We at Heatherlands are very much aware of the damage excessive workload can have on our staff and students. As a learning community, we constantly look at how we make the demands of the profession manageable and improve how we work, ensuring good mental health and well-being for all. We all share in the responsibility to help each other manage our workload, not only for our own social, emotional and mental health, but also for others.
For staff we have enabled flexibility over attendance at some of our key events. The calendar also shows when we have development time for staff to concentrate on our key foci. Meetings generally occur at end of the school day, but these are started as early as possible in order to avoid too late a finish for staff. Where possible, other meetings are scheduled to take place during the school day to limit the number of meetings taking place after a busy day.
Other things we do to support reducing teacher workload are:
All staff and visiting tutors benefit from dedicated areas in which to prepare for lessons and assessment. Staff can work in the 'Cromwell room', which is available before, throughout, and after the school day. There are several areas throughout our school where staff can comfortably carry out PPA activities. We offer over the statutory amount of PPA time, knowing that this enables staff to complete tasks on site. Some classrooms are opened at lunchtime for students to work or relax in, whilst sports activities, choir etc also take place at this time. Our staffroom - 'The Heather Lounge' is a place to relax and reflect with colleagues. Friday briefings give staff a great opportunity to socialise and share experiences in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
The views and opinions of our staff and students provides one of our most important tools for reducing workload. We know we will always be hampered by the need to meet a range of external requirements and balancing budgets. But, our staff and students are able to provide ideas and act as critical friends in ways that make a real difference. To gather opinions we deploy a variety of strategies including focus group discussions and regular surveys – particularly around well being.
At Heatherlands we believe managing our workload is everyone’s responsibility. However, there are always key individuals who are there to help. Our Mental Health Lead (Mrs K Lloyd-Christie) and our Curriculum Director (Miss B Collis) have a specific role to support staff in managing their workload and to help staff identify better ways of working, through a coaching approach.
In each school in the Coastal Learning Partnership (CLP) there are specific strategies, activities and people in place to support work/life balance, well being and professional development.
However, ALL CLP schools provide: