Kenilworth School to expand its wellness programme

Kenilworth School Headteacher Hayden Abbott
Kenilworth School Headteacher Hayden Abbott

A Kenilworth School has invested in a health package aimed at helping staff feel valued for the past five years, against a national backdrop of rising stress levels.

The scheme has been so effective that next month sees the introduction of wellbeing clinics for students too.

Headteacher Hayden Abbott this week revealed details of his school’s long-standing staff wellness programme after a report published in the national press said teachers across the UK were suffering from more severe psychological problems than at any point this century.

The report, by charity Education Support, said stress levels nationwide in the sector have risen three years in a row, with many teachers saying they don’t feel trusted.

Hayden Abbott said he believes his school’s proactive approach to dealing with health helps staff feel valued, increases employee engagement and is partly responsible for the the high staff retention record at the school in recent years.

He added: “We appreciate our staff spend long hours at work, so we have invested in an insurance package to help them. This provides benefits and confidential services such as wellbeing advice, counselling, menopause support and physiotherapy. In addition, we have nurses who come in and provide annual health checks for staff if they wish.

“Every member of the teaching and support team is offered a free autumn flu jab.

“We recognise that it can be difficult to make time in a busy working week to go to the surgery for a flu jab or a check-up. It’s another thing on a long list of things to do. So by bringing these services into the building and enabling everyone to have access to them if they wish, we are reducing some of the barriers to wellbeing.

“We hope it also sends them the message that their employer cares about and supports them.

“This is something that we at Kenilworth School have specifically decided to invest in. Not all schools by any means have such a system in place.

“When staff feel happy and fulfilled, this filters through to the classroom, impacts positively on the students and improves relationships. It benefits all the enrichment activities we offer out of school hours. When we have a high level of engagement, staff feel they can invest time in clubs and on residential trips.”

The initiative has been so successful the school is embarking on a programme of wellbeing clinics for students too, with the first drop in session, run by the Compass Warwickshire School Health and Well-Being Service, taking place in December.

Mr Abbott said: “This is the natural next stage - to extend our offer to students. Nurses will come into the school for two hours every month to offer confidential drop in sessions, so we can provide even more support for their mental and physical wellbeing."