Support for your health and wellbeing
GTC Scotland is the professional registration body for teachers and lecturers in Scotland. The GTC Scotland Health and Wellbeing Hub provides a variety of resources to support colleagues’ wellbeing. To support teacher wellbeing, we host monthly Wellbeing Wednesday webinars with partners #wellbeingwednesday
Recent Wellbeing Wednesdays webinars:
- Taking stock and staying centred in uncertain times – supported by Claire Lavelle Hive of Wellbeing - This included sharing self-coaching strategies to support educators in taking stock of where their own wellbeing needs are being met and where they might consider a more self-compassionate and resourceful approach towards themselves in more challenging areas. Claire also shared ideas to cultivate habits of 'breaking the state,' returning to and staying centred when feeling overwhelmed.
- Impact of Racial discrimination on health and wellbeing – Khadija Mohammed, Yasmeen Hussain, Marcia Edwards and Sharon Smith discussed racial discrimination issues, how they impact on teachers’ wellbeing and learning about what we can do to combat the effects of discrimination and abuse.
- Ask the Health and Wellbeing Specialist - Dr Emma Hepburn, Sarah Philp and Claire Lavelle discussed a range of health and wellbeing subjects including: asking for help and recognising and owning how we feel; anxiety and mindfulness techniques; difficult conversations and supporting my colleagues; inner critic and imposter syndrome; feelings of isolation and supporting teams online; working from home aches and pains; hyper vigilance and exhaustion.
- Webinars are recorded and available on our Health and Wellbeing Hub and within MyPL with accompanying resources and support videos. Webinar attendee rates vary according to topic. On average almost three times the number of attendees watch the recording of the webinar, rather than attending the live webinar. Post-webinar promotion of the recording and the Wellbeing Hub generally remain key to engagement.
GTC Scotland’s Early Career team have continued to meet with probation managers monthly via Microsoft Teams to provide an update on relevant issues and discuss future developments. A series of webinars have been offered to probationer supporters since the start of session in August to support them with knowledge and skills relevant to the role. The webinars have all been recorded to ensure that they are accessible over the course of the school session. The topics which will be covered in the next few months are:
- Pastoral Support for Probationers (with Claire Lavelle)
- Challenging Conversations (with Agnes Hendry)
- Completing a case overview as part of the profile process (with Elaine Napier)
- ‘Guidance Relating to the Areas of the Interim 2 and Final Profiles (TIS) – January 2021 to June 2021’ has been created in collaboration with probation managers and shared with all supporters to support them with the completion of profiles during this period.
Support package for probationers
Following the submission of the Early Progress Report from employers to GTCS in October, a support package was offered to a group of 200 probationers who had been highlighted as benefitting from an offer of targeted support. Reflective videos relating to each area of the Standard for Full Registration, a rubric mapping pathways from the Standard for Provisional Registration to the Standard for Full Registration was shared with the group of 200 probationers, as well as an offer of a coaching conversation with a professional coach. 167 of the probationers engaged in the coaching opportunity.
A second phase of the support package is to be offered to those probationers from the group of 167, whose interim profile has been submitted as a ‘cause for concern’ or ‘unsatisfactory’. The content of the second phase is being shaped around feedback from the coaching conversations in discussion with probation managers and probationer supporters. 65 probationers will be offered this second phase of support.
Flexible route probationers
The Flexible Route Virtual School is continuing to be developed to offer relevant and current guidance to support this cohort of probationers through this session. The Virtual School offers help sheets, FAQs and resources.
Early career teachers
GTC Scotland continues to work in partnership with Education Scotland to offer a programme of professional learning under the banner of ‘Stepping Stones’. This is an online community for post-probationers and teachers in their first four years of full registration. The content of the programme is based on feedback from the group and results of a questionnaire that early career teachers completed last session for the Strategic Board for Teacher Education. GTCS has very recently appointed a Stepping Stones Development Officer on a fixed term contract who will be developing these opportunities collaboratively with Education Scotland. This post is funded by the Scottish Government’s support package for Covid-19 educational recovery.
GTC Scotland manages the student placement process on behalf of partners, directed by the Student Placement Management Group. Intense focus over recent months has ensured student placements can take place. This is an essential part of initial teacher education and critical to the achievement of the Standard for Provisional Registration and access to the Register of teachers in Scotland. Further interventions will take place to ensure as many placement opportunities as possible are offered and taken up prior to the summer recess.
A group has been established to take forward the planning for the transition into next session 2021/22, in relation to students, probationers and early career teachers. GTCS, Scottish Government, ADES and SCDE are all represented on the group. An options analysis is currently being discussed, with the aim of finding a way forward prior to the start of the TIS allocation process in late February.
GTC Scotland continues to play a key role in supporting a national strategy for coaching and mentoring in partnership with Education Scotland. The development of a national coaching programme to support and build capacity across the education system has been key to this work. GTC Scotland is currently working with the Northern Alliance and education and school leaders across Scotland to develop and share an online Coaching for Success programme. Over 40 leaders will have completed this programme with GTC Scotland by the end of April 21, helping build capacity across the system by enabling colleagues to support the development of coaching approaches in their context. Participants on the current programmes have reflected that the programme is supporting their health and wellbeing, giving them time, strategies and supported space to work from a solutions focused approach.
The deadline for Professional Update for the cohort due to sign off in session 2019/20 was extended into January in response to the ongoing challenges for teachers and lecturers.
Annual Lecture – Teacher Professionalism: GTC Scotland held an annual lecture on the 13 January 2021. Professor Graham Donaldson delivered a lecture which reflected on the decade since the publication of his seminal report Teaching Scotland’s Future (TSF). Professor Donaldson’s key reflections related to:
- the development of pedagogies that harness the unique contributions of both face to face and digital learning;
- reinforcement of the importance of values, ethics and critical thinking as key components of responsible citizenship;
- the reassertion of the prime role of assessment for and as learning and the development of qualifications that reflect the curriculum;
- readdressing the need for and implications of career long professional learning including genuine collaboration involving schools, universities and local authorities, and striking a better balance between teaching time and time beyond the classroom devoted to research and reflection building professional capital and analysing and meeting the diverse needs of young people. The annual lecture is available on the GTC Scotland website and a number of follow up events are in development. The Professional Standards 2021 were also launched at this event and are available on the website. For more information please see the Upcoming events. For more information contact Communications@gtcs.org.uk
Support for the health and wellbeing of learners
1. Links to support the positive mental health and wellbeing of children and young people
A summary of information, resources and organisations have been curated by Education Scotland and are freely available to support primary and secondary school staff to support mental wellbeing.
The British Psychological Society has published guidance for a resilience and coping framework for supporting transitions back to school.
Place2Be is a children’s mental health charity, with over 25 years’ experience, providing counselling and mental health support and professional learning in schools. In Scotland we currently work in partnership with schools across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Dundee reaching a total population of approximately 15,000 children and young people.
Place2Be offers a range of professional learning programmes on mental health in schools – to both school staff and headteachers. This includes Place2Think consultative sessions that provide a reflective space for education professionals supporting positive mental health/resilience/wellbeing in school communities.
During this time of remote working, Place2Be are making their online ‘Introduction to Mental Health’ programme more widely available. The programme is designed as a foundation in mental health awareness and is suitable for participants with a range of prior learning. The 5-week online programme consists of four modules, each of which explores a different area of mental health and wellbeing:
- Understanding Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Nature and Nurture
- How can I help?
- Mental Health: everybody’s business
In addition, Place2Be has put together a series of resources focused on community recovery, to help headteachers and school staff start to bring their schools back together following recent challenging times.
Place2Be also works with the Universities of Edinburgh (Moray House) and Stirling to provide an innovative Teacher Education Pilot to equip student teacher’s with the skills and understanding to support children’s mental health.
**NEW** Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing : A Professional Learning Resource For All School Staff - The resource takes a whole school approach centred around prevention and early intervention to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for everyone in the school community. It aims to provide school staff with knowledge and understanding of mental health and wellbeing in schools and a range of opportunities to learn about experiences and advice from practitioners and young people.
2. Supporting children and young people with trauma, grief and loss
A Professional Learning Activity created as an introduction to ‘Compassionate and Connected Community’ has been developed by Education Scotland and can be accessed via Professional Learning and Leadership Online Resource. This resource provides an introduction to supporting children and young people affected by trauma.
A Professional Learning Activity ‘Supporting children and young people through grief and loss’ is provided by Education Scotland and available via the Professional Learning and Leadership Online Resource (login required). This professional learning provides information on the possible grief reactions related to the COVID-19 experience
Place2Be has provided a resource Helping Children to Process Loss.
NHS Education Scotland has a variety of resources available for working with young people and families at this time.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 Barnardo’s in partnership with Public Health Scotland launched a film – ‘It’s All About Relationships: Embedding relational, trauma sensitive approaches in education settings’. The aim of the film is to make explicit links between trauma-sensitive, relational approaches within Education and children and young people’s mental health.
We also developed this Wakelet which has a range of support materials linked to this subject.
Beacon House supports for staff supporting children and young people affected by trauma.
3. Support for Children and Young People Experiencing Domestic Abuse
Education Scotland has provided information for educators on domestic abuse which is aimed at all staff in early learning and childcare settings and schools, including senior leadership teams.
A report by the Scottish Government - Coronavirus (COVID-19): domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls - 30/3/20-22/05/20 - provides the qualitative evidence on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on people experiencing domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women/girls (VAWD) during COVID-19 lockdown for the period 30 March 2020 to 22 May 2020.
4. Mental health and wellbeing: local authority supports
Local authorities across Scotland created bespoke supports for staff, including specific supports from educational psychologists.
Further support is available from local authority Educational psychology services across Scotland
1. EIS (Education Institute of Scotland) - Supporting teachers to deliver remote learning
EIS’s Lockdown Learning resource is a series of learning activities that could be useful in both blended and remote learning scenarios. The main focus of these is learner engagement and wellbeing. The resources are broadly divided into Primary and Secondary with scope for adaptation by teachers to suit the needs of their learners as they see fit.
An updated version of the EIS Working from Home guidance is also now available. It advises members around a variety of relevant topics such as managing workload while home-working, wellbeing matters and engaging with pupils online.
Support for the Provision of COVID-secure In-school Learning
The EIS has created a suite of sector-specific online curriculum and pedagogy guidance covering Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Special Primary and Special Secondary Education. The guidance aims to support teachers in adapting pedagogy to take account of the current public health imperatives and the priorities identified within the Recovery Curriculum.
Webinars focused on COVID-secure pedagogy for teachers of Early Years, Primary and Secondary have enabled teachers to come together virtually to share thinking around the challenges and successes that they’ve experienced in adjusting pedagogy to take account of the COVID context. Recordings and associated presentations are available to view on the EIS website.
Supporting Teachers to Address the Equity-impact of the Pandemic
The EIS PACT Project has provided professional learning to teachers focussed on the poverty impact of COVID-19. Webinar recordings and self-access modular learning materials are available for all teachers in Scotland on the PACT zone of the EIS website.
Equality-focused Support for Teachers
The pandemic has shone a harsh light on pre-existing societal inequalities, many of which have been exacerbated by COVID. For teachers wishing to learn more about Equality matters in the context of COVID and more generally, the EIS has created a package of online Equality Taster Training which provides opportunities to increase knowledge of equality legislation and how it relates to education, and enables teachers to enhance their awareness of inequality and how to address it.
Support in Advancing Race Equality
As part of the EIS wider anti-racist strategy a programme of learning activity has been offered to members, including all-member webinars and a comprehensive anti-racist leadership learning programme, with bespoke sessions for trade union representatives, education leaders and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic members. Following these sessions, tailored guidance and learning resources will be launched online.
The EIS has organised a range of online initiatives to facilitate members coming together to support one another and share their experiences in relation to equality issues during the pandemic and lockdown. The EIS established an informal National BAME Network, and held an event for disabled members and members with access or communication difficulties – to map issues affecting them and explore ways of providing support.
Supporting Teachers to Focus on their Wellbeing
The EIS is about to launch a new programme of wellbeing-related professional learning for EIS members. Entitled ‘Our Well-being Matters’, the programme will run from mid-February until June and will explore the multiple ways that teachers can enhance their well-being. More information can be found here: Our-Well-Being-Matters.
In Spring 2020, the EIS created a Working at Home resource which although intended to support teachers during the first period of school closure, it still has relevance to the current context. It contains 4 main sections: Looking After Your Health and Wellbeing; Making Time for You: Daily Inspiration; Lockdown Learning Ideas; and Continuing Your Professional Learning.
Making Time for You: Daily Inspiration - A wide variety of suggestions to help teachers take a little bit of time for themselves every day, away from work and other routine duties, to help them keep well mentally, emotionally and physically. Music, gardening, cooking, cinema, theatre, poetry, exercise and much more feature in the suggestions- plenty of creative ways that teachers can snatch some quality leisure time to help achieve greater work-life balance.
The EIS Health and Wellbeing Resource is a collation of materials, resources and useful contacts intended to support teachers’ health and wellbeing, and to help them support the wellbeing of others, including children and young people.
The Continuing Your Professional Learning section of the EIS website aims to support teachers in keeping their own professional learning alive, with advice and resources on a wide range of subjects including using digital methods for remote learning. For more information on any of the EIS resources, please contact Leigh Meechan: email@example.com
Support from Education Scotland
Wakelet - Staff wellbeing
NHS wellbeing frameworks:
- Staff Wellbeing During a Pandemic and Beyond
- National Wellbeing Hub for those working in Health and Social Care
NHS Education for Scotland: