I once remember a headteacher recounting a tale from her career in which she had sought to set up a staff well – being group to improve morale and a sense of community amongst the staff after a difficult time for the school. The headteacher was delighted to find that a group of staff had come forward and had planned an inaugural meeting. The headteacher approached to the new chair of the group to say that she would love to come along briefly at the start to show her support for the group only to be told that she (and indeed any of the senior team) would not be welcome as the group was about “the staff” and that it was their well – being that mattered.
Most headteachers and school leaders know that in a typical school term that the one that is coming to an end, they will have dealt with a multitude of challenges that caused them to draw heavily upon their physical, mental and emotional resources. The senior leaders I work with show tremendous courage, perseverance and compassion for the children, young people, staff and parents they come into contact with each day. The put themselves out there, they face up difficult situations and decisions, they field questions from governing bodies, OFSTED, Local Authorities, academy sponsors and CEOs and the press about what the school is, isn’t and should be doing to improve their organisation. Sometimes for some leaders, in some weeks, they will see little of the people they love and when they finally get that “quality time” they find they can’t switch off! Health can sometimes suffer and some of the more common coping strategies (alcohol, too much of the wrong food, sleeping pills, energy drinks) prove to be self – defeating.
Few school leaders take the time to reassess what they need to refresh their resources, find the support that would decrease their sense of isolation and use simple techniques that would boost their energy and sense of perspective. This is what a new course called “the Human School Leader” helps to do by enabling leaders to take time out for themselves to renew their sense of purpose, use Yoga or mindfulness to create greater energy and calm, and learn that taking care of their own health will pay dividends for the schools they lead.
Praise from primary and secondary headteachers
Attending The Human
“I had time to think and reflect. I appreciated being exposed to new ideas and time to focus on how I can incorporate these new strategies. A great mix of personal and professional relevance”
“The whole day has been very helpful; time to reflect and pause, learning the basics of positive nutrition, strengths mapping, yoga, mindfulness and self – compassion. I really enjoyed sharing ideas with others”
“I loved the combined aspect of the course i.e. not just a single “silver bullet” but a range of strategies from physical/exercise, practical relaxation and mindfulness, and looking at strengths. I would like to know more about how to use these techniques with my staff and the children.”
“To have some personal time out and consider really important domains that I am not taking care of. The nutrition, health and yoga sessions were very useful and are so often ignored”
“The beauty and peace of the location added to the day”
“The course leaders made us feel at ease, and the combination of someone with extensive senior leadership experience in schools and an expert in wellness created a pervading sense of balance and realism”