A 2018 HSE study found that the education sector had the highest proportion of staff with higher than average rates of stress, depression or anxiety- to those who work within the sector this may come as little surprise. 
Research by the Education Support Partnership supported these findings and found that more than half the teachers they asked admitted they had considered leaving their profession due to their poor health. 
 
We all know the profound personal and financial impact of work-related stress- the key question is how we can tackle it to ensure early years and school staff feel supported and, above all, feel valued. 

The impact on Education staff 

The Pre-school Learning Alliance ‘Minds Matter’ Report found that 45 per cent of the early years workforce asked stated that work-related stress and mental health issues have negatively impacted their work performance. 
 
A survey by the Teachers Alliance found a similar picture for school staff; 42% asked felt less able to do their job as a result and 66% said stress caused them to be less patient with others. 
Managers or Leaders who know their staff are feeling anxious and stressed but fail to provide sufficient wellbeing support for them are in essence much of the problem. 
 
It can be argued that in safeguarding terminology these are acts of “omission “ and tantamount to negligence. I refer to negligence because staff who are stressed may lack concentration and full focus on the children who they are responsible for and this is a hazard especially in the early years or for children who may need additional support. 
 
Sometimes managers themselves can feel overwhelmed with workloads and won’t recognise these issues or start a meaningful dialogue with staff- this should be a key part of effective policies and processes that are put in place to support the workforce in inductions and supervisions. 
 
 

How Action Learning Sets can help 

Action Learning Sets Facilitation work best as an enabling model of learning to address these types of issues in the early stages before they become unmanageable and critical; a place where careful reflection and important decisions can be made. 
 
This process helps education staff by bringing them together, as a small group, to tackle real problems collectively- they learn individually and as a team at the same time. During the session, appropriate methods and learning resources are identified to help support future practice. 
 
The long term benefit of investing in staff is far reaching- managers will see a happier and more productive workforce, a reduction in sickness and absences from work and stronger and more committed teams who can resolve issues effectively and economically. 
 
Action Learning Sets are of significant value and benefit for employees and employers, a good investment for the wellbeing of staff for any organisation. 
 
If you’d like to know more about how Action Learning Sets could help benefit your organisation, contact me on 01803 469369 or jigsawinitiatives@gmail.com in complete confidence for further information. 
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