Teacher wellness is fundamental to the success of your school in more ways than one - good teacher wellbeing helps foster a positive school culture, provides a better teaching and learning experience for students and can help in an operational sense through reduced spending on recruitment. However, this being said, it’s not always easy to paint a clear picture of the general sense of wellbeing in your school. Focus meetings, one-to-one meetings and suggestion boxes can help provide some insight, but conducting a teacher wellbeing survey will be able to give you a better indication as to how your staff are feeling and what can be done to improve wellbeing in your school.
By conducting surveys you’re able to drill down into the exact areas of your school which need improvement or attention based on the questions delivered and staff response. Entire staff surveys which ask for numerical answers provide you with data and benchmarks that allow you to track improvements and initiatives against areas for concern. Not to mention, being able to provide survey results and school actions based off the back of staff feedback will act as a valuable tool for external investigators such as Ofsted as it shows proof of improvement based on the best interest of teachers and is referred to in the Ofsted Handbook: ‘consider[ing] any evidence the school has from regularly surveying the staff and how leaders and managers have responded to concerns’. In order for surveys to be truly successful there are factors that need to be considered, such as frequency, anonymity and actions.
Surveys are your way as management, to receive real, honest, feedback from your staff and when this is done continuously, the clearer the picture of staff wellbeing will become. Continuous feedback tells you if everyone is aligned with your school’s visions and goals and allows you to identify problems or causes for concern as they happen, not before it’s too late. Frequent wellbeing surveys will not only provide you with the information you need to determine how your staff are feeling, they can also act as an assessment tool for you, based on results you can identify areas for improvement in your leadership style that can be addressed.
The pros and cons of anonymous feedback are widely disputed, however, we believe in order to get the most truthful feedback from you staff, regarding what some may consider to be quite sensitive information, anonymity is the most likely way you will achieve this. By encouraging your staff to provide anonymous feedback you’re effectively communicating that you want to hear their true opinion and are providing a safe place to do so, it also removes any unconscious bias you or your staff may have through stripping the identity from the feedback so you can look at this advice objectively, without any preconceived feelings and create actions based of the back of this.
The implementation of teacher wellbeing surveys and the gathering of feedback is only ever going to be effective if you take actions based on your insight. You cannot expect your staff to willingly participate in a survey that takes up some of their time, if they never see the benefits of doing so. In order to make improvements to teacher wellbeing based off these results, ensure your staff are either told of the changes you’re planning to make as a result of them or make changes that they notice.
Read more about on acting on teacher feedback and the impact it can have on school culture here.
Teacher wellbeing is affected by many factors, some which are out of your control, but surveys and feedback will allow you to take action and make changes with regards to factors that are in your control. It will also help you in communicating to your staff that their opinion is valued and create a greater sense of community in your school, which will in turn have a positive impact on your students’ school experience.