What protection is there for teachers in Bradford Schools?
The NUT officers in Bradford have been working with the LEA and Education Bradford to plan work that brought into schools the Health & Safety Executive's "Management Standards for Work-related Stress".
Regular meetings of the group known as the "Health and Well-being Group" are being held. The group includes NUT Officers putting forward the needs and concerns of teachers. The Health & Safety Executive worked alongside us on a pilot project which will inform future work to be done nationally on reducing ill-health caused by stress at work.
The NUT and other teachers’ unions have worked in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive, Bradford Council and Education Bradford to devise a system for Risk Assessment for Stress in schools. There were several launches three years ago for managers who were responsible for conducting the Stress Risk Assessment. This should be a well established procedure in place in every school, to which all staff can have an input.
All Headteachers have been given specific training. If a new headteacher hasn't been contacted yet, they should get in touch with Stephen Newbold at firstname.lastname@example.org
Very soon the HSE will be returning to the council to see that progress has been made. The instruction pack for their own inspectors with guidance on conducting an inspection for stress is at the link below.
It has been emphasised to Headteachers that they have a statutory duty to conduct a Risk Assessment for stress and the council expect them to be doing it.
The HSE and Bradford Council staff will be visiting a selection of schools to look at their Stress Risk Assessment Process and to offer additional support.
The Teachers' Unions Health & Safety Reps regularly examine the Stress Risk Assessment as part of their inspection of schools.
What should have happened so far?
To start with, all staff, or at least staff representatives, had to be consulted about what they thought the stressors were in the school. You may even have been asked to complete a questionnaire.
It is essential that any stress risk assessment is not just a document but a process that enables practical steps to be taken to make a real difference so our jobs become less stressful. We need to:
- Make sure staff are consulted.
- Make sure there is a process, not just a piece of paper.
- Make sure issues get raised that need to be.
- Make sure there are solutions which really will help, not make things worse or have no effect.
- Make sure genuine reviews take place.
This process should have begun in your school. If you are not satisfied that things are moving, please ring the NUT office (01274 414664).
The Union has produced an excellent booklet full of help for headteachers once they know what the stressors are in their school. This link below will take you to the document which you can then download, print off and give to your headteacher.
A similar resource for managers from the DCSF can be found at the link below.
Any headteacher not yet convinced about the value of addressing the issue of stress needs to read the document “ Building the business case for managing stress in the workplace” - the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) guidance document, link follows
HSE work recently has been looking into the effects on stress at work of the behaviours of managers and their competency in implementing the management standards. Get your line manager to follow the link below to assess how competent they are as a manager.
"Line management behaviour and stress at work : Updated guidance for line managers" is a useful guide for any manager hoping to improve their skills because as a manager, you play an important intermediary role between individual staff members and the school. As a result, you can help determine how well your school manages stress in its staff. More importantly, as a manager you have a huge impact on the work-related stress of your employees. In fact, a recent CIPD Absence Management survey found that respondents cited management style in the top three causes of work-related stress overall. This useful guide can be accessed at the link below:-
Shift is an initiative aimed at tackling stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues in England. Their aim is to create a society where people who experience mental health problems enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other people. The Line Managers' Resource is a practical guide to managing and supporting people with mental health problems in the workplace. The Line Managers' Web Resource website also includes information for employees. These resources are available by clicking the image below.
The mental Health Foundation is another good source of advice. Click the image below.
Mind is a charity which helps people take control of their mental health. They provide high-quality information and advice and campaign to promote and protect good mental health for everyone. Click below.
One of the most common causes of workplace stress is a bullying management. We have two useful documents, intended to combat workplace bullying which have been designed to be used by a school NUT group who feel this is an issue which they want to campaign against. Click either of them below.
Other useful resources
Model School Well-Being Policy
National Stress Awareness Day
PROTECTING TEACHERS’ MENTAL HEALTH – GUIDANCE FOR NUT SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVES
Tips on tackling 6 causes of work-related stress
Addressing work-related stress doesn't have to cost the earth; often it's about identifying practical solutions after assessing the possible causes.
Based on the 6 risk factors included in the Management Standards, this document allows you to check if you're doing enough to address the causes of stress at work: