Our WE virtual meetings are designed to support you during this challenging time. They are an opportunity to learn with and from colleagues across the country during this fast-moving situation. Discover our WE ‘Summer Curriculum’ for Trusts, Primaries and Secondaries.
This week Richard Spencer from CMAT shared how the trust is leading for the wellbeing of their staff during this extraordinary time. You can find out more about Richard and CMAT in their spotlight. The EEF resource Richard referred to on remote learning can be found here.
The trust and school have prioritised keeping lines of communication open above all else – you need information and data on how staff are doing, at an individual and collective level, to be able to make effective decisions.
Schools in the trust are collecting information twice a week with a very simple set of questions about their status/availability. For example they ask whether staff are available to work all the day, some of the time (but balancing with other home commitments), self-isolating, symptomatic…. This captures only what staff feel comfortable sharing, while giving the schools crucial insight.
Using tools to give a ‘dashboard’ view of all this data helps them quickly get a picture of different schools’ capacities, identify possible issues, and focus on things that need to be done differently or with specific support. CMAT uses Microsoft’s ‘Power Bi’ to generate this dashboard.
Explain to your team why you’re asking questions, and what you are doing with the data you collect. Some leaders were nervous about collecting personal information on staff and there was discussion about what you could and couldn’t reasonably ask. By being really open and clearly explaining what you need and why you can ensure you get buy in and they feel comfortable and trust in order to answer frequently and accurately.
This is crucial because the colleagues thriving in a world of working from home – and those who are finding it difficult – aren’t necessarily the ones you would guess. From teachers to leaders, education is inherently a social profession. We’re not automatically equipped to handle the isolation and need to find out who needs extra support.
Try to find out and support each individual in their own circumstances. The physical and real world has become a remote and abstract one. This is totally different from the ‘normal’ working conditions for a teacher – recognise and embrace this and try to deal with each individual’s reality
CMAT across their schools are prioritising a coherent approach over a consistent one during this extraordinary period. Not every interaction or all the support for staff can be consistent, and nor should it – a degree of personalisation can help create a human approach to supporting people. However coherence and transparency, based around the trust’s values, are vital to ensuring everyone understands and buys in.
The human interaction from live teaching has a really positive effect on the wellbeing for lots of colleagues – including leaders. CMAT is using Microsoft Teams for virtual lessons and a number of colleagues in the trust said it was making a powerful positive difference to their wellbeing.
Find ways of informally catching up with each other as a team. Like many other Trusts, CMAT has used staff quizzes and one-to-one check ins amongst other tools.
Maintain CPD opportunities for your team where you can, so they can continue to feel nourished and supported in this new world. The trust is using Microsoft Teams as one channel for CPD, along with a dedicated online space, as part of a blended model.
Simply signpost the support available. The Trust has created dedicated email, anonymous (e.g. not a staff name) accounts for worries and wellbeing support. This will receive fast replies at any time.
Register your interest in the series to share your ideas with other secondary leaders across the country and find out how they are tackling shared challenges.