Blogs

Whole body, whole mind, whole school

So let’s start with body, the mental health benefits of becoming more physically active are becoming more and more well known.

Let’s think about how we feel after we’ve done some exercise? Even if we’re absolutely exhausted and breathless and red in the face we feel pretty smug & good! Once the initial tiredness subsides we feel more energetic and for me personally my problems do not seem quite as big. Whilst out running or walking or whatever I’ve chosen to do I’ve managed to gain some perspective and headspace? These things are not an exact science but they are more important to many than exercising to keep in shape. We know many GPS will now prescribe exercise for low mood because it is clear that exercise stimulates positive endorphins.

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New research from the department of health October 2017 reported 12% of cases of depression could be prevented with an hour of exercise each week.

Make this 3 times a week and the risk of depression reduces by 30%.

What about stress? Yes regular exercisers have more grey matter in the prefrontal cortex which governs stress management. Exercise stimulates serotonin the natural feel good neurotransmitter. Exercise helps with anxiety and is fantastic for helping you bounce back in difficult times. Different types of exercise can be used for different things for example, yoga and Pilates are very relaxing. It’s horses for courses though and important that we remember this. I prefer to release my tension by doing a spinning or combat class or a really long run.

Nutrition for mental health……..

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Of course when we think about body and mind we have to think about nutrition too. We often don’t hear about the link between nutrition and mental health yet nearly two thirds of people without mental health problems eat fresh fruit or juice every day compared with less than half that do report mental health problems. The pattern is similar with fresh vegetables and salad. We can protect our mood and encourage greater feelings of wellbeing by ensuring our diet is balanced and that we are eating enough essential fat and vitamins and drinking plenty water. We should also look to reduce the amount of processed food sugar and alcohol.

Whole school……..

I believe that we shouldn’t think about physical and mental health as two different things; the two things are one and the same.

If we take this thinking to our role as school leaders how can we ensure our schools are genuinely active places and I don’t just mean the children? We also need to consider how we can we ensure that our children and staff are making positive nutritional choices. It really is about having a whole school approach and the Youth Sport Trust @YouthSportTrust is well placed to support schools with this.

If we get these two things right and use the PE department who are really well placed to drive the wellbeing agenda we are half way there. What we can’t have is PE departments who don’t know who the ‘least active’ are.

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Of course I can’t blog about mental health without advocating for Mental Health First Aid traininghttp://allianceforlearning.co.uk/cpd/mental-health-and-wellbeing/youth-mental-health-first-aid/  and http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/cpd/mental-health-and-wellbeing/adult-mental-health-first-aid/  this is an essential part of ensuring students and staff receive early help. I also believe that embedding a coaching culture is essential to achieve a supportive and happy school environment which allows staff and students to thrive but that is a whole other blog…..

Across our Mat at BFET we have strategies around all those things:

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Finally, in terms of a whole school approach there are some great resources on the Mental Health First Aid England website – for example: the Line Manager Guide is excellent: https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/resources/for-workplaces/ I particularly like the diagram on page 19 which looks at a holistic approach to staff wellbeing at work.  Another great resource is the NCB Wellbeing Framework for Leaders and I really like the diagram below taken from that:

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Thank you for taking the time to read by blog and Happy New Year!

Lisa Fathers

Director of Teaching School & Partnerships

www.allianceforlearning.co.uk

@AFLTeachingSch

@lisafathersAFL

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Should Schools Be Engaging With Teaching Schools?

Blog by Lisa Fathers, Head of Teaching School / BFET Co-PrincipalDJCNPWcV4AAT7tPTo me this is a question with an obvious answer!

  • Are we better together ?
  • Is deep collaboration which includes support and challenge helpful ?
  • Do you want to find creative ways to retain your best staff?
  • Do you want to provide cost effective, personalised CPD?
  • Are there any subjects in school that didn’t perform as well as others?
  • Would you like your schools profile enhanced with no extra cost to your school?

If your answer to ANY of the questions above is ‘ YES’ then you might want to consider contacting a local Teaching School and having a conversation about opportunities. It’s a two way street, contributing to a Teaching School and being able to access what your partner Teaching School is offering is mutually beneficial.

There is sometimes a misconception that Teaching Schools are just out to ‘make money’. The truth is far from that. At the Alliance for Learning (AfL)  we are driven by a deep desire to improve outcomes for all children and that’s it! Using a sensible business model we are in a position where we can cover most costs, but for a long time it wasn’t the case. Equally our SCITT ( School Centred Initial Teacher Training) isn’t a ‘cash cow’ either – the money comes in and goes straight out, supporting the training of new teachers. We are passionate about creating the next generation of fantastic teachers and we want our partner schools to grow their own future workforce.

Another misconception is that Teaching Schools don’t want to work together with other Teaching Schools. This is not the way we work! Teaching Schools are full of generous people who are outward facing and who genuinely believe in the power of collaboration and networking. We are part of the GM LLE Collaborative – a group of local Teaching Schools working together to train and designate LLEs. The AfL is currently supporting two newly designated Teaching Schools to launch and we are sharing good practice about our SLE model with two additional Teaching Schools. Also I’m coaching three female colleagues as part of the” Women into Leadership” coaching model supported by Women Ed.

We use our partner schools to deliver all sorts of things for us and they obviously get the credit for this along with a share of the income.  And to clear up some confusion on who can join what:

If the Teaching School Alliance you want to join is part of a MAT, you can join that Alliance without having anything to do with the MAT .

You can be in a separate MAT and join a Teaching School Alliance

You can be part of more than one Alliance as they can offer different things that you might want for your school- it’s an open network.

On a practical level, in the current funding environment it’s essential that schools proactively market themselves and being part of a Teaching School is one way to do this. For many schools results are not the ‘whole story’ and bring part of something bigger gives you a way to sell your schools positives on a much larger scale.

Teaching Schools can help to get your overarching messages across to a wider audience through channels such as social media. Teaching Schools can endorse the things you say about yourself ( as long as we know it’s true!). Networks and partnerships are so crucially important and they all start with human relationships ❤️.

Why not pick up the phone to your local teaching school and arrange for them to pop in for  coffee and a chat about what they can offer your school? Some schools are already in Alliances –  but not making the most of the relationship ….. is it time to refresh those partnerships, share your vision and find new exciting ways to work together? In the last year absolutely loads of our partner schools have improved their Ofsted grades and I know my Teaching School made a significant contribution to all of their journeys. We’ve trained over 1500 delegates in the last year and we have over 70 high quality SLEs but we need more. And that will probably be the case for Teaching Schools all across the country. So please do get in touch!

I’m so excited about this year.  If you want to chat to me about your school just give me a shout. If you want to join a Teaching School Alliance I can point you in the direction of your local TSA as well.

If you know a school that still doesn’t even know what a Teaching School is –  my call to action is that you help them understand!

Lisa Fathers

Head of Teaching School / BFET Co-Principal

When CPD is brilliant there are a plethora of positives

When CPD is brilliant there are a plethora of positives, some measurable and some less easy to quantify. But generally great CPD leads to improved teacher morale, better outcomes for students and improved Ofsted grade. Crucially in this time of teacher shortages it also leads to a stronger professional profile for the school and therefore better retention and recruitment of the best staff. When schools invest in their staff this clearly improves ethos and culture because the whole school community feels valued and ultimately this impacts on the wellbeing of staff and students.

When the CPD comes through a Teaching School or a Math’s Hub then you have the added benefit of real school to school collaboration and a two way partnership. Schools in a Teaching School Alliance (TSA) not only receive CPD and support but also give back too, it’s reciprocal.  Schools are just ‘better together’ and I’m not biased at all…..

We are very lucky to have a SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) at the Alliance for Learning so we are really conscious that the CPD journey is an important and life long one. From the moment a trainee teacher starts with us we talk to them about their ‘pathway’. Clearly there is no single pathway and staying in the classroom and ‘getting better’ is as equally important (and some would say more so) as progressing to Leadership. I have recently been asked to share the ‘Teacher Pathway’ document we use in our trust (Bright Futures Educational Trust) and our teaching school and it can be found here: http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/cpd/introduction/

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It will never been the finished article because the needs of children, staff, schools and of course context is ever changing but I hope you find it useful.

Over the past 20 years, I have honed my own teaching style and then gone on to grow and evolve as a leader. I continue to love to learn.  I’m passionate about my own learning and those of others. Recently, I was asked by some trainees about the best CPD I’ve ever had and I found it so hard to choose – for all the right reasons!  In terms of teaching I absolutely loved the Kagan training I did several years ago. But a light bulb moment for me was some training I attended years ago about “attachment and brain development” in children who had experienced early trauma. When I understood what this meant for me in the classroom and as a pastoral leader, it was so enlightening.

In terms of ‘leadership’ I thoroughly enjoyed completing the NPQH several years ago and it really did further develop my understanding of leadership theory. But possibly more importantly I developed a network of leaders in other schools and kept in touch with them. I believe that networks are incredibly important.  I can recommend an excellent book I read recently about this very topic called ‘Who is in your Personal Boardroom’ by Zella King & Amanda Scott – @myBoardroom . People often say that leaders are only as good as the people they surround themselves with. Do we think enough about that when we are creating our own unique networks that help us grow and flourish? Reading is an essential part of CPD and I’m enjoying ‘Hopeful Schools’ by @MaryMyatt at the moment.

As far as personal career development goes, I believe having a really good coach is crucial. At @BrightFuturesET we have embedded a three tiered coaching model which is really empowering. If you are a woman and are thinking about accessing a coach or becoming one do have a look at this free opportunity : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/women-leading-in-education-become-a-coach @WomenEd is also a really supportive place to access ongoing support and advice whether you are male or female.

Finally, I have to mention Mental Health First Aid – which I believe should be an essential part of teacher training and indeed is at our SCITT. The feedback we have had for this course has been overwhelmingly positive and when we have delivered with clusters of schools working together as I have done recently in Warrington, the impact has doubled. It is part of our wider wellbeing offer: http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/cpd/mindfulness-and-wellbeing/mindfulness-taster/

I believe all teachers – young, mature, established or brand new – should be given the time to continue to learn new skills, new theories, new ways of thinking, share good practice and to read. CPD is not just ‘a course’ it is an ongoing diet- a journey. This is why I created the ‘pathway’ which makes it clear that we all have a responsibility for our own ongoing development too and CPD isn’t something simply ‘done to us’. Of course these kinds of ‘pathway’ diagrams have existed long before mine. I was inspired by something similar a long time ago which I have tried to emulate. If you have something similar or better please do share!

One think I haven’t talked about is the importance of a research based approach to CPD and being able to evidence impact. Whilst this is absolutely essential it is also a whole other blog so I’ll come back to that.

Like all teachers and leaders my ‘to do’ list never gets finished and I always have something else to do. But as I’ve said before in a previous blog, if you love your job then it feels less like work and more like fun! School to school support is also CPD, receiving SLE support or indeed being an SLE ( Specialist Leader of Education) is one of the greatest privileges ever and if you don’t know what an SLE is find out! Additionally, teacher to teacher CPD events like a Teachmeet are brilliant for all involved. Our next teachmeet is on the theme of Wellbeing at Wellacre Academy on 3rd July:

Save the Date - Wellacre Teachmeet 2017

I do believe that twitter has changed CPD for the better and I still can’t believe how many teachers and leaders are not on here! If you know a teacher not on twitter do send them this great guide:  http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/twitter-for-teachers-a-guide-for-beginners/

If you would like to talk to me about our teaching school CPD offer which includes bespoke training too please do contact me @lisafathersAFL

 

Lisa Fathers

Head of Teaching School / BFET Co-Principal

www.allianceforlearning.co.uk

@AFLTeachingSch

 

Happy 2nd Birthday #WomenED

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Blog by Lisa Fathers, Head of Teaching School / BFET Co-Principle

I already had a very clear understanding of my role and my vision for leadership but WomenEd constantly reinforces that vision about empowering others so it has definitely grown stronger.

Twitter has brought many fantastic connections both for me and for my Teaching School. I love the fact that teachers and leaders are constantly sharing, talking and supporting each other. I’ve always believed in the real power of networks and Twitter has strengthened that. I’ve found sharing blogs and the support from other Women Ed leaders really heartening.

I have always had a real drive to ensure equality of opportunity to all and WomenEd really dials that up & turns it into action. I am now Coaching and supporting Women on the phone & via Email up & down the country- I love the feeling I’m helping to make a difference to other women reaching their potential. Equally I know I can ask for support too.

‘Virtually’ I’ve collaborated with other women on the ‘be 10% bolder’ agenda & I’ve also used Twitter connections to widen my network. I’m attending the first WomenEd conference in Manchester on the 10th June & I’ve agreed to be a Regional NW WomenEd Lead! My confidence has been boosted because I know you have support from other women and that is really empowering & a safe place to be. I’ve used the WomenED messages to help build confidence in others too!

I’ve met some amazing people, I’ve read some thought provoking blogs. When I was a student teacher my English Subject Mentor was Lynn Nichols @SalehighHT and she has always championed the ‘Women to Women’ support movement even before ‘WomenEd’ was a born. I’ve always been inspired by her supportive women to women ethos.

 

 

Interview advice from our Head of Teaching School (@lisafathersAFL)

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Spring has arrived, lighter nights, daffodils, a bit of sunshine and student teachers everywhere are starting to apply for jobs!

It’s the culmination of all that hard work……….Hang on a minute – no its not! You are still on your course trying frantically to keep your head above water whist at the same time look for jobs and write the sparkiest application letter you possibly can!

@missrobertsuom (one of my former English GCSE students) who has gone on to complete her teacher training contacted me saying she was busy with applications and I reflected that all our Alliance for Learning SCITT trainees have had lots of support with the application process but we need to help our lovely young teachers think about the actual interview too! 

Don’t panic

A job interview invite shouldn’t be cause for panic, you have been a student teacher for a year now and no doubt your social media presence will be entirely appropriate. As a teacher, this is your chance to show that your personality lives up to your brilliant application. Like it or not, first impressions count, and they begin much earlier than you think. You are on interview from the moment you arrive on the school car park. If your sense of direction and parking is anything like mine you might want to think about a stress free arrival – drive the route beforehand! Be friendly to the receptionist and to the other candidates remember you are all in the same boat! Be bold, @WomenED have a great motto ‘be 10% braver’ this is manageable!

Don’t over-prepare your lesson

Keep your lesson simple, have a clear objective in mind and don’t try to cover everything. The 5 minute lesson plan @TeacherToolkit is a good place to start. Try to focus on an interesting part of the topic that you can be enthusiastic about. I once taught a terrible lesson on a Deputy Headteacher interview: I tried to do too much and with 5 observers at the back of the classroom I just couldn’t relax! I still got the job though because actually nothing is ‘make or break’ so stay calm and collected. Experienced interviewers can tell what kind of person/teacher you are, if you know your subject and if you are passionate. Think about timing- if it’s a short lesson- say 30 mins or so – you really are not going to be able to demonstrate lots of progress but you can show off your personality, relationship with children and love of your subject. Move around the room- this is not the time to hide!

Dress smartly

You are entering an eminent and highly regarded profession – wear a suit jacket. I’m a shopping lover and a great believer in retail therapy so if you can afford it then splash out on a new interview suit! It matters how you feel so ensure whatever you wear is comfortable and don’t be afraid to wear something bright (but not garish). Think about foot wear; I love high heels but my feet don’t. Wear something you can walk in!heels

The actual interview

Your interviewers will almost certainly have formed part of their judgment on you before you have answered their first question, body language is important. Put the interviewers at ease by smiling and by pretending to be relaxed. This is not life or death. Make eye contact with the whole panel, it’s hard to define ‘presence’ but we talk about it a lot in the classroom and as well as about leadership. Be in the room, talk about your positives, don’t waffle and speak clearly. Imagine yourself working at the school- think positively! Humour is really important and, hard as it is, you have to try and build a relationship with the interview panel so a two way dialogue is better than just answering questions- try and make it feel like a conversation. Don’t be flippant though, this is an important role.

Interview questions

We want to know you are resilient because this is a tough job. So if you get chance to talk about yourself discuss how you balance work and life, what you do to keep yourself healthy, how you relax. One of the most important questions will be asking you how you thought your lesson went; be honest, say what you would do differently, and compliment the school on the children.

Safeguarding is a question you must get right! You may be asked about your understanding of safeguarding best practice, your involvement in safeguarding or your own motivation in working with children. For example: What training have you undertaken on safeguarding children in the last year? If you have a safeguarding concern about a child in your class, what action would you take? Safeguarding and the well-being of children is central to the ethos of a school. How would you contribute to making the organisation a safer environment for children?

In terms of your classroom experience, if you get asked how you would deal with something like a student not engaging then try and talk using examples, this will make you sound more credible and experienced.

The final question apart from ‘are you still a firm candidate’ (which means do you still want the job if offered it) will no doubt be inviting you to ask a question. Be prepared to ask an interesting question, you could ask something topical or something philosophical. You could also compliment the Headteacher on something. Be memorable but be ‘teacher like’.

And finally – if you do get offered the job, seriously consider if it is the right role in the right school in the right location for you. If you can afford the luxury of choice – then choose wisely!

 

Good luck!

Best wishes,

Lisa Fathers

Head of Teaching School / Co-Principal BFET (Altrincham Grammar School for Girls)

Follow me on twitter @lisafathersAFL

Also follow: @AFLTeachingSch @AGGSchool @BrightFuturesET

A Murmuration of Starlings – working together to drive improvement

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By Gary Handforth, Director of Primary Education at Bright Futures Educational Trust

A murmuration of starlings is a breath-taking sight – a swooping mass of thousands of birds whirling in the sky above your head. A type of organised chaos as the birds suddenly switch direction in complete synchronisation with no visible sign of a single leader, but instead a successful collective behaviour that achieves the goal of the whole.

This type of flocking provides a good example of the way in which order can form without any central coordination. Collective behaviour emerges from some simple invisible rules, creating complex motion and a connective interaction between every bird. By working together, and not alone, the participants form an organised and effective whole.

Simple invisible rules. These words echo in my mind throughout my work on leadership. How often do we see simple rules in many different organisations that would rather insist on creating a complexity of rules and regulations and top-down, hierarchical pressures? Coordinated from a centre and fuelled by power and authority of the few.

How often do we see organisations trusting the people within them to make decisions at a local level and allowing these interactions to inform and develop the complex networks which make up the organisation?

Often, this is because when faced with deepening complexity, organisations insist on a form of hierarchical power and control. This means that rules created by a handful of people – often disconnected from the changing and complex needs and challenges faced by the organisation – can end up driving organisational activity and priorities and often in the wrong direction.

Our organisations end up being led by the few, controlling the many. Not the many informing the few. Leaders need to respond more and dictate less, to listen more, to tell less.

As human beings we are all prone to not doing exactly what we are told to do. We may, on the surface, behave as if we are doing so, but we crave to add our own creativity, our own worth and value – and we often do. This could mean that any top-down hierarchical system may inadvertently create a shadow culture in our organisations, where people add their own interpretations of rules and orders, which lead to the true causes of change going unnoticed, remaining invisible. Yet the authoritative rules believe the changes stemmed from the hierarchical commands.

The world of education appears to be run on similar principles. Great leaders, celebrity leaders who come in to ‘fix’ schools. An education system which seems determined to find the quick solution to failing schools, to copy and paste success onto other schools. We may often see quick results and the prescription seems to be working. However, the improvements are often temporary and short-lived and have no sustainable and long lasting solution. The patient soon returns to sickness.

With enormous pressure on schools to fix things quickly and a press picking up on perceived failings because turn-a-round hasn’t turned around, then it should come as no surprise that short term solutions have become regarded the main catalyst for improvement within schools. A safer, easily-implemented, ‘do it this way’ style of school improvement, which paves the way for the leaders who effect these changes to be praised as heroes.

What if we stopped for a while longer and questioned more deeply our short-term thinking and decision-making?

What if we questioned the types of leaders this environment may encourage and the school culture this might develop?

What if we shifted our thinking in schools so that dictatorial, top-down decision-making was not perceived as the sole driver for improvement?

What if we adopted other approaches and not just the quick-fix, prescribed approaches to problems?

This would require fundamental organisational change and a shift in mindsets, encouraged from the very top and extending throughout the whole organisation. A shift from an organisational structure that relies on a handful of disconnected leaders, to a structure that utilises the whole network, harnessing the expertise of each and every person in the system. Not just ‘distributed leadership’ which, at best, distributes the roles and responsibilities from a centrally created pot.

We don’t need bosses who distribute, we need great leaders who pay attention to the existing power in their own organisation and who are willing to relinquish their own notion of control, and to do so authentically. These leaders would need to co-create the basic rules for the system from the outset through participating with the very people who run the organisation – those that work in it. Once these basic rules are established, they will act as guiding lights for individuals or groups to make local decisions at the ground level, responding to the complexity of daily information they receive.

We need to move away from any one-size-fits-all approach and any notion that answers are located inside the heads of a few leaders who appear to ‘run’ the organisation. We need to focus on the invisible.

By identifying and releasing the potential talents and skills of each and every individual, by creating a climate of opportunity for individuals and groups to work together to identify and solve problems and for us to learn by tapping into a collective wisdom, we can create an organisation where every member is an active participant, developing a self guided and mutually accountable system for the general good of the organisation. In other words, a true and authentic self-organising, self-improving system; just like the starlings, no single dominant leader but driven by a collective will guided by simple rules.

And that is what we are doing at Bright Futures Educational Trust. As a group of education leaders we have sat down and practically worked out how we can actually do this – how we can affect change through collaboration across a whole Multi Academy Trust?. It has taken a while to work out and put into implementation – we never said it would be quick. And we have suffered from the relentless focus of the press and an impatient establishment. But we now are beginning to see the real benefits of this approach.

And breathe….. made it to half term!

And breathe….. made it to half term!

Blog by Lisa Fathers, Head of Teaching School / BFET Co-Principal

It is February, we are now a few weeks away from our well-intended New Year’s resolutions- but how many of them are here to stay? How many of us so desperately needed half term to arrive? How many of us have actually been unwell over half term?

We tend to start the year by pledging to get fit, eat better, reduce bad habits, have better work life balance and to move closer towards our goals. The problem is we often fall into a trap of wanting to ‘correct’ the negative aspects of our lives which means we actually start the New Year on the back foot with perhaps a sense of unease. Wanting to improve areas of our lives is a good thing but we are so used to this combative approach that we end up in battle with ourselves and unless we have a firm handle on our ‘inner chimp’ (Chimp Paradox- great book!) then we end up feeling let down and frustrated with ourselves. Our resolve to do things a certain way comes from the busy lives we have but trying to negate the causes of stress by creating new pressure isn’t helpful.

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Stress permeates our lives it is part of school life and a certain amount of stress gets us out of bed in the morning, motivates us and creates the adrenaline we need to do a good job. Without a bit of adrenaline we might become lethargic and too relaxed to do a good job.

Excessive amounts of relentless pressure and stress can lead to exhaustion and possible burnout and we often see teachers getting poorly or run down by the time the half term holiday rolls round simply because we haven’t been paying attention to our own wellbeing and health and we work at such a pace and then we stop suddenly!

If we tune in to our bodies and minds we can easily workout how we are doing. Are we sleeping well? Can we locate any anxiousness if we scan our bodies, have we had headaches, are we being patient and kind or have we got a short fuse? Are we eating well? How are we breathing?

What is our self-care like at the moment?

The good news is that if we know how we are we can quite easily use helpful strategies to reverse the effects of stress on our bodies.  Regular exercise helps to alleviate that frustrated feeling and exercise helps us reconnect with our bodies, yoga is particularly good as it combines movement with meditation. Fresh air combined with exercise is particularly beneficial too as being outdoors gives us a sense of perspective. What do you do to move your body? People ask me how I find time to teach Spinning at the gym at weekend when I’ve got a busy job and two children but for me it’s ‘need to do’ not ‘nice to do’. The upbeat dance music coupled with the adrenaline of pushing my legs and my clients to the brink of exhaustion does it for me! It’s not for everyone though and we all have to find our own way to move that suits us.

Without a doubt Mindfulness is a powerful relaxation tool and by connecting to our natural breathing we have the power to lower our heart rate and bring a sense of calm and clarity to any situation. (Check out our Mindfulness offer here http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/cpd/mindfulness-and-wellbeing/ )

I also recommend the book: Mindfulness – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world.

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Teaching, leading, working in a school is stressful: the pace, the responsibly, the invisible work we all do at night to stay on top of our workloads and it’s not easy. However, nobody can look after your own wellbeing except you. You decide whether to eat your lunch at your desk or whether to have a walk round and get some fresh air or connect with colleagues. You decide whether you need a night off or whether to look at your emails weekend.

You decide whether you are going to be kind to yourself or berate yourself.

My advice is try a softer approach, what would your inner kind voice say to you?

From September we will be offering the Adult Mental Health a First Aid course to senior staff in schools and HR Directors because we recognise that we need to ensure we are looking after the staff in our schools. (http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/cpd/mindfulness-and-wellbeing/adult-mental-health-first-aid/ ) If we look after each other then we can look after our students. Look out for our courses about whole school approaches to wellbeing!  (http://allianceforlearning.co.uk/cpd/mindfulness-and-wellbeing/ )

Your school might want to consider exploring the Wellbeing Charter: http://www.wellbeingcharter.org.uk/index.php) or/and how we explore becoming a ‘Mindful Employer’ which is an NHS initiative about being positive about mental health. There are some nice things schools can do which don’t cost us money. The Daily Mile is one examples of this – We all know that being physically active is good for our bodies. But our physical health and mental health are closely linked – so physical activity can be very beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing too. Lots of us don’t get enough exercise to stay healthy, but physical activity is particularly important if you have a mental health problem.  At Marton Primary Academy the children participate in the Daily Mile which has resulted in attention levels and behaviour in class being improved and parents have commented that their children are fitter, more active and alert.bl