Hinds unveils latest plan to create 'happy teachers'

Advisory group on wellbeing to help improve teachers' mental health is DfE’s latest measure to tackle recruitment and retention crisis

happy teachers

A new expert advisory group to look at how teachers and school leaders can be better supported to deal with the pressures of the job will be announced by Damian Hinds today.

The education secretary will tell the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) annual conference in Birmingham that teachers always put the good of their pupils first, but should not take their own wellbeing for granted.

He is expected to say: “Happy, motivated, well supported teachers are more likely to have happy and motivated pupils in their classrooms.”

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The group will bring together professional bodies, including unions, headteachers and the mental health charity Mind, and look for new ways to support teachers and listen to their concerns before making recommendations to the DfE, local authorities and MATs.

As reported in Tes, research shows almost a third of teachers have experienced a mental health problem in the past year, while the number of headteachers and senior leaders who are stressed and showing signs of depression has risen sharply, with some turning to alcohol in a bid to cope.

Former headteacher James Pope whose resignation was featured in the BBC documentary School following a “brutal” Ofsted inspection, has also spoken out about the pressures on teachers.

General secretary of ASCL, Geoff Barton, welcomed the setting up of the advisory group, saying: “We have perhaps been too ready in the past to regard the pressures which are part of teaching as something which goes with the territory.”

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “The first, and arguably most important step, will be to start a conversation about mental health that empowers teachers, and make sure they have access to the right training and guidance to support themselves, their colleagues and their students.”

Mr Hinds' other measures to boost teacher recruitment and retention have included a reduction in workload and plans to make part-time working easier.

However, this week's Spring Statement included no new money for schools, despite wide concern over a funding crisis.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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