Safeguarding Teachers and Staff: What Can Schools Do?
The Impact of Ofsted Inspections on Mental Health:
Ruth Perry’s case has brought to light the tremendous stress and pressure that teachers and school staff experience during Ofsted inspections. The coroner’s ruling attributing Perry’s suicide to the inspection process has prompted widespread concerns about the methods used by Ofsted and their potential impact on educators’ mental health. A “prevention of future deaths” notice was issued, demanding urgent action from the education watchdog.
Addressing the Wellbeing of School Staff:
The new Chief Inspector of Education, Martyn Oliver, has vowed to launch an inquiry into Ofsted’s involvement in Perry’s tragic death. In the meantime, he has suspended all inspections until assessors receive training and support on reducing the stress caused by inspections. Oliver emphasised that this training is not a one-off event but part of a comprehensive effort to enhance inspectors’ ability to manage the wellbeing of those they inspect.
Recognising Signs of Mental Health Struggles:
Schools should actively look out for signs that teachers and staff may be struggling with their mental health. Some common indicators include increased absenteeism, significant changes in behaviour or mood, noticeable signs of exhaustion, and a decline in job performance. It is essential for school leaders, colleagues, and even students to actively support and create a safe and nurturing environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking help.
CURA Safeguarding Software:
To effectively address and monitor concerns related to the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and staff, schools can leverage technology such as CURA’s Staff Module within the Safeguarding software. This powerful tool enables schools to log and track concerns at an early stage, as well as monitor the progress of support services provided to each individual. By centralising information and promoting communication between staff members, this software facilitates the identification and appropriate management of mental health issues.
Creating a Supportive School Culture:
Beyond using software, schools must also foster a culture of support and empathy. It is crucial to provide teachers and staff with access to mental health resources, such as confidential counseling services and regular wellbeing check-ins. Prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of educators demonstrates a commitment to their overall welfare, promoting a healthier and more positive school environment.
Collaboration with External Partners:
Schools should collaborate with external partners, such as mental health professionals and local support networks, to ensure comprehensive support for teachers and staff. Establishing strong partnerships enables schools to access additional resources, gain valuable insights, and provide a network of support that extends beyond the school’s immediate community.
The halt of Ofsted inspections following Ruth Perry’s tragic suicide serves as a wake-up call for the education system to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and staff. School leaders must actively address concerns, recognise signs of mental health struggles, and implement safeguards to protect their educators. Using technology like Cura Safeguarding software, fostering a supportive school culture, and collaborating with external partners can all contribute to creating a safer and more conducive environment for teachers and staff. By taking these proactive measures, schools can ensure the wellbeing of their educators, ultimately benefiting both the individuals and the entire school community.