At Queen's Park Primary we have gained Excellence in the healthy workplace charter, where we looked at policy and procedure, attendance management, CPD and supporting others. Following this achievement we then looked at our wider workforce by training as mental health first aid trainers and delivering this to every member of staff as a mental health first aider. This is unusual as if you are lucky, generally only one member of staff is trained in this field.
Highly Commended - #MHAwards19
From start: No
During process: Yes
In evaluation: No
PP Collaborative: Yes
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Lyndsy Killip - Head of School, Queen's Park Primary School
Please briefly describe your project, group, team or service, outlining what you do and why it makes a difference.
At Queen’s Park Primary we have gained Excellence in the healthy workplace charter, where we looked at policy and procedure, attendance management, CPD and supporting others. Following this achievement we then looked at our wider workforce by training as mental health first aid trainers and delivering this to every member of staff as a mental health first aider. This is unusual as if you are lucky, generally only one member of staff is trained in this field.
Further to this, members of staff attended bereavement training, completed stress awareness training and workplace assessments we completed. We changed the way we collected attendance data, breaking down the stigma associated with time off for mental health, opening a wider dialogue and offering a range of services available. Regularly coffee and a croissant mornings were hosted, bringing together all staff. In order to further cement our impact, we began sharing the importance of staff wellbeing on a wider scale.
We became Westminster Centre of Excellence, where we delivered staff wellbeing training to 15 other schools, looking at policies, procedures and drawing together local services. Supporting the council newly qualified training programme has also meant that people new to their career have been given the opportunity to reflect on their own wellbeing. As a school we have also signed up as the first school in Westminster to follow the NEU Workload charter, committed to supporting teacher workload to promote a positive worklife balance.
We have also committed to the ‘Where’s your head at?’ programme which supports breaking down the stigma. What we do for our staff we also do for our children, leading by example and opening the wider message. Going forward, we intend to further support governors by introducing those responsible for mental health through wider governance conference support, continue to lead the field in staff wellbeing and continue to prove the outcomes we have achieved in reductions in staff absence rates, increased staff retention and positive outcomes on staff surveys.
What makes your service stand out from others? Please provide an example of this.
By being a primary school who has changed a whole school ethos to support the wellbeing of the staff, children and families sets us aside from others. Committed from the governors, to the senior leadership team and all members of staff mental health and wellbeing runs through the core of everything we do. We have members of staff focused on further learning and completing Masters in the Mental Health field. We have shown our dedication to getting it right for staff through investing in completing the excellence level of the Workplace charter. Our staff are fully trained in mental health first aid and we have demonstrated our wider impact through the delivery of support in staff mental health to governors, other schools and informing practice from a council level. We have been able to share outcomes with others to demonstrate why focussing on staff wellbeing is so important. We strive to demonstrate that despite the cut in budgets that schools can do a lot to support their staff wellbeing and regularly share this practice.
How do you ensure an effective, safe, compassionate and sustainable workforce?
We have given all our staff the skills needed to support their own and others in their care mental health. Currently some staff are undertaking Masters in mental health leadership, cognitive behaviour therapy and impact of mental health in teaching and learning. As our staff have developed their own skills, they are then in a position to support others. Since becoming Westminster Centre of Excellence, they have begun delivering the positive impact and ideas to further support wellbeing on others. Within the school we have a trained cognitive behaviour therapist, councillor and supervisor. There are many trained in coaching and mentoring and all know who to tap into for support. What is good about Queen’s Park is our internal support mechanisms. We regularly do lesson study to support one another in the workplace and this is just another element of the support we give our staff. All staff can access local counselling services, but can also find support within the school. Because of all the internal training we have completed we understand the needs within our school and continue to offer peer support but also outside support.
Who is in your team?
Within our school we have 42 members of staff, these range from those responsible for the office, cleaning, kitchen, support staff and teachers.
How do you work with the wider system?
As a school we work closely with Westminster policy makers to further support the promotion of mental health and wellbeing of staff. We have consulted regularly with Ealing, Westminster and Hammersmith council to develop programmes to meet the needs of their staff. Our promotion of mental health first aid for all staff, and having already trained over 120 others from educational settings has further supported the wider system. As a school we are drawing our knowledge of local services to support others, and have already embedded a foodbank to meet the needs of our families and lower paid staff, we regularly use the housing services and have used charities such as Child Bereavement UK, Westminster Talking Services and CAMHs practitioners to support the needs of our employees families.
Do you use co-production approaches?
Do you share your work with others? If so, please tell us how.
We share our work through conference speaking e.g. London Grid for Learning, Mental Health First Aid, National Governor’s Conference. We have delivered personalised training to 5 schools, delivered wellbeing training to a variety of delegates and continue to actively promote. We recently had an article published in the Guardian newspaper too.
What outcome measures are collected, how do you use them and how do they demonstrate improvement?
Our outcomes have been measured through staff wellbeing questionnaires, sickness absence data and retention figures. What we have seen is that staff wellbeing is at an all time high, with regularly people reporting as 10/10 in many of the questions. Our outcome now sits firmly in the top 90%. With regards to attendance, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of days off, reducing by 41% across the board. Our staff retention figures are extremely high in comparison to other schools with any vacancy being quickly filled due to our positive mental health reputation.
Has your service been evaluated (by peer or academic review)?
Our services are regularly evaluated through course evaluations. We have been involved in research through MA work on the impact of MHFA and Whole School Mental Health Planning.
How will you ensure that your service continues to deliver good mental health care?
We would like to continue to deliver a high quality approach to staff mental health through continuous evaluation of our impact. We are committed to continuing offering MHFA training to all our staff and actively seek other CPD opportunities. Regardless of management changes, our school now has a governor for wellbeing and all the policy and procedures in place to continue supporting mental health and wellbeing. Through regular funding to promote mental health and wellbeing for staff we will continue to share with other educational settings.
What aspects of your service would you share with people who want to learn from you?
That despite budgets, schools can actively promote the wellbeing of staff, which in turn has positive outcomes for the school. Equipping staff with their own understanding of mental health breaks down stigma.
How do you ensure you provide timely access?
We have an open door policy which means we can support our staff sooner
What is your service doing to identify mental health inequalities that exist in your local area?
We work with Westminster policy team to support the needs of the local area.
What is your service doing to address and advance equality?
We actively work to reduce the stigma, improve access to mental health support and work with the local community to support outcomes for all.
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