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ESC’s mental health and wellbeing policy being updated

ESC’s mental health and wellbeing policy being updated

Sunday 21 May 2023

ESC’s mental health and wellbeing policy being updated

Sunday 21 May 2023


A new mental health and wellbeing policy will be in place for teachers by the start of the 2023/24 academic year.

It comes after a Cultural Values Assessment was conducted by the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture early last year as part of the development of its ongoing Education Strategy.

“Following the Cultural Values Assessment we ran in January 2022, which a large majority of the workforce engaged with, health and wellbeing for all was identified as a priority workstream within The Education Strategy,” said the Director of Education, Nick Hynes. 

“As part of that work, the Committee’s positive mental health and wellbeing policy is being updated and refreshed to ensure all staff understand and can access the support available to them. Settings based education staff, including representatives from all schools, have played a key part in this work by contributing their views and feedback, alongside colleagues from the Health Improvement Commission and the Educational Psychology Service.  

“We will also be engaging with Trade Unions as we finalise the policy. The policy will be reviewed by Committee before the end of the summer term so it is in place by the start of the 2023/24 academic year.” 

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Pictured: Mr Hynes. 

Mr Hynes said Education currently offers a range of support that staff in education settings can access.  

“Support is on hand through a member of staff’s line manager and/or Headteacher, Human Resources and the Employee Assistance Programme. Additionally, we can refer colleagues for support via Occupational Health if required. Support is bespoke depending on individual circumstances.” 

Stress in schools has been compounded by the after effects of the pandemic, with higher levels of absences and more classes requiring cover.  

“We have some challenges recruiting to specific roles in the secondary sector, which is a national issue in subjects such as science and computer science and this has been well documented nationally,” continued Mr Hynes. 

“However, we are seeing an improvement in this area and are optimistic that all posts will be filled by September. We continue to rely on some agency staff as needed. Generally, we are not seeing issues with recruiting primary teachers.  

“We are now fully immersed in our annual recruitment activities and we have already started planning for September 2023. Ultimately any unfilled vacancies have the impact of adding pressure to our staff in schools and we have a strategy in place to avoid this wherever possible.” 

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