In this guest blog, James McLoughlin, Director at TAP (Thank And Praise) outlines how sharing messages of gratitude can help improve staff wellbeing. 

We all know that school staff, in particular teachers, have one of the most stressful jobs around. We also know that teachers who work in schools where mental health and wellbeing is embedded within the school’s culture perform better – which is good news for everyone.

According to the Teacher Wellbeing Index 2020, 84% of education professionals described themselves as stressed, with senior leaders experiencing the highest levels of stress (89%). On top of this, 38% of all education professionals considered their organisational culture had a negative effect on their mental health and wellbeing.

Commenting on the survey results, Sinéad McBrearty, CEO of Education Support said, “At a time of economic, social and emotional recovery, the education workforce is focused on supporting children and young people to find their feet, recover learning and re-establish relationships. Their success in doing this will directly affect the life chances of a generation. Yet at this critical point, we find that those working in schools and colleges feel poorly supported and unappreciated.”

The vital importance of showing appreciation to school staff is brought to life by the Headteacher of Eyres Monsell Primary School in Leicestershire, in her BETT Show article: “It’s really critical that mental health and wellbeing is part of the culture and fabric of our school, so it’s a golden thread that runs throughout our school ethos and our school curriculum. And it has to start right from the top otherwise it doesn’t have that presence and importance that it needs.”

In a recent interview, the Headteacher of St Michael’s Primary School in Berkshire, said, “It’s important to give families an opportunity to express their appreciation to teachers. So often teachers are at the front line for parental complaints. It is important for them to realise these are outweighed by support for their efforts and commitment. Especially as recruiting teachers is becoming increasingly more difficult, we need to provide ways of raising the profession’s profile and value in society.” 

One such way to achieve this is through providing parents and guardians with the ability to share messages of appreciation with school staff. However, for praise to have a long-lasting impact on staff wellbeing, it needs to be given regularly.

Schools, where giving and receiving thanks is prevalent, experience the following benefits:

Enhanced staff well-being:

Staff feel more valued, have greater optimism and increased energy levels.

Better staff stress management:

Staff become more resilient which is critical in challenging times such as now.

Improved staff job satisfaction:

Staff are more motivated when they feel appreciated and are more likely to stay.

Increased parental engagement:

When parents and guardians are given ways to share messages of thanks with staff it has a positive impact on the whole school community.

Improved pupil experience:

Staff are better equipped to give pupils the support they need.

TAP (Thank And Praise) is a free-to-use social thanking platform which enables parents and guardians to easily and regularly show their appreciation to school staff.

TAP allows parents and guardians (and school staff) to:

Speaking about TAP’s value to her school, Layla Crabtree, Director of Fun/Staff Well-Being Lead at Cranbrook Education Campus in Devon, says: “Prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of our Cranbrook Campus community is incredibly important, by doing so we ensure that our fantastic school continues to grow, flourish and thrive. TAP enables us to celebrate and champion our incredibly hard-working teachers and staff offering parents and guardians the opportunity to offer praise and positive feedback to our hard-working team of dedicated professionals”.

Governors have a key role in transforming schools’ approach to staff’s mental health and wellbeing. TAP is delighted to be supporting Governors for Schools’ Wellbeing Governors campaign to give school governors the knowledge and tools to put mental health and wellbeing at the heart of the agenda.

TAP provides schools with the opportunity for regular, positive engagement with demonstrable impact on the wellbeing of staff and across the whole school, as can be seen from these testimonials.

For more information on how your school can benefit from TAP’s free-to-use social thanking platform, please visit www.thankandpraise.com or email james@thankandpraise.com