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County council funding additional wellbeing support for school staff

Published
20.05.2021

The county council is giving all schools, academies, MAT’s and independents in the county, free access to specialist support to look after their staff wellbeing over the next twelve months.

We recognise what a challenging time this is for schools and for all staff across each school community, who have continued to support the county’s children throughout an unprecedented, ever-changing and demanding period.

With effect from 1 May 2021 and for the coming year, all staff in schools across Gloucestershire will be able to access support from a 24-hour Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provided by Health Assured, one of the UK’s leading providers of Employee Assistance. Working with the county council since 2016, their counselling service is the only one accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Free Employee Assistance Programme

The new programme is funded with money received from the government’s ‘Contain Outbreak Management Fund’ (COMF) which provides local authorities with assistance to support public health.

The emphasis will be on helping staff to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing and prevent issues from escalating. The support available for staff includes:

  • A counselling helpline which is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
  • Structured counselling, up to six sessions by phone
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and E:counselling
  • Legal advice helplines including debt advice, employment, consumer and finance
  • Access to the ‘My Healthy Advantage’ App
  • Webinars and video resources on health and wellbeing, as well as structured health plans
  • A whole host of supporting materials via a dedicated website and mobile app

Reflective Supervision

  • Some schools have used Reflective Supervision before, for example as part of the Trailblazers scheme, and we know from feedback that Head Teachers and school leaders have found it particularly valuable, so we are very pleased that we are able to extend this support to include more schools.

Further wellbeing support

  • If you have any questions about any of the above information please email ohu@gloucestershire.gov.ukIn putting this package of additional wellbeing support for school staff together we have consulted with our local head teacher partnership groups and provided information through Heads Up and Schools Net. The information we have shared so far has been very well received. 
  • We know from feedback from head teachers that the impact of Covid-19 is still significant in schools in terms of the mental health and wellbeing of staff. This will continue for some time as schools adjust to the changing demands associated with the virus. With this in mind, we are keen to explore further avenues of support for school staff – if you have any thoughts, please contact marcella.scoles@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

Feedback from schools

  • Our Occupational Health team is available to provide additional guidance for schools around individual risk assessment and Covid advice, as well as offering various workshops to support staff health and wellbeing, such as increasing staff resilience.
  • “Reflective Supervision is a powerful tool and one which I believe is essential for all head teachers to support them in their role and their wellbeing.” Juliette Moxham, retired head teacher, GCC.
  • The COMF funding will also be used to offer up to 100 spaces to schools for Reflective Supervision, with up to 4 sessions per participant.
  • The support offered by the programme is available to staff and their dependent family members. All services are free at the point of use for both the staff member and the school.

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