Barnardo’s: Teachers need better mental health support

Istock-1080232668 (1)

The charity is calling for supervision to be put in place in Scotland’s schools. 

17th February 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Teachers should receive better emotional and mental health support, according to a charity.

Barnardo’s Scotland is calling for the move after 65% of education workers reported high levels of stress and a lack of support mechanisms.

The charity has published a new survey, Supervision in Education – Healthier Schools For All, which found that nearly all staff working in education supported supervision structures aimed at improving their mental health and wellbeing.

Supervision is already available to other practitioners in roles involving the care and protection of children and young people, such as social work and clinical practice.

Barnardo’s said supervision in schools would ensure safe practice in workplaces, deliver better outcomes for pupils, and allow time and space for staff to process and reflect on their work and its impact.

The survey also highlighted strong links between staff mental health and wellbeing and the mental health and wellbeing of pupils.

Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “Our survey asked those working in education about their experiences and views on the role of professional or reflective supervision in education, an overwhelming 95% of respondents said they would support this in principle.

“The better we can support education staff, the better they in turn can support and enhance children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“We firmly believe that children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing could be vastly improved if the right support was available for the adults who care for them every day.”

Dr Alan Bainbridge, from Canterbury Christ Church University, has been developing a model of support and supervision over the last few years after becoming increasingly aware of the pressures on education staff.

He said: “The question to be asked is not ‘Why should teachers receive supervision?’ But instead, ‘Why are we not providing supervision?’

“For too long teachers, their families and pupils have been put at risk by ignoring the challenging emotional labour expected of them. It is well known that unreasonable stress and anxiety leads to bad decision-making. Therefore, providing support and supervision for teachers is not only the right professional course of action. It is a moral obligation.

“If we value the young people in our education settings we must then value and care for those who care for them.”