Robin Walker – 2021 Statement on Education Staff Wellbeing

The statement made by Robin Walker, the Minister for School Standards, in the House of Commons on 17 November 2021.

We recognise the incredible efforts of schools and colleges to maintain the safety and wellbeing of staff, students and pupils and we are grateful to them for what they are doing.

Supporting the wellbeing and mental health of staff is a crucial element of our commitment to help create a supportive culture in schools and colleges. We have worked in partnership with the education sector and mental health experts to inform and deliver the commitments announced in May 2020 to protect and promote staff mental health and wellbeing.

I am today announcing a new £760,000 mental health support scheme for school leaders to be delivered by the charity Education Support from this autumn until March 2023. The programme will provide one-to-one counselling and peer support to around 2,000 school leaders, helping those at deputy head level and above with their mental wellbeing.

It builds on the pilot involving over 350 school leaders which was launched in response to the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Eligible school leaders will be able to access the programme from today through the Education Support website.

Along with this announcement, this week, we are launching the education staff wellbeing charter for schools to sign up to. The charter sets out commitments from the Government, Ofsted, schools and colleges to promote and protect the mental health of the education workforce.

Through the charter, the Department pledges to work with the sector to drive down unnecessary workload, improve access to wellbeing resources, and champion flexible working, among a range of actions to support staff wellbeing. We are now encouraging all state funded schools and colleges to sign up to the charter to create a united approach to supporting staff wellbeing.