Springwell School, a primary school for children aged 4-11 years with complex learning difficulties which employs 231 members of staff, introduced a new digital mental health provider in September 2022.
All of its teachers, teaching support staff, on-site staff and governors, as well as the partners of employees or one family member aged 18 and above, will have 24 hours a day, seven days a week access to Kooth Work’s online counselling and wellbeing support when and where they need it.
The platform enables employees to book one-to-one text-based sessions with experienced counsellors and wellbeing practitioners via an anonymous chat. The school also has access to the provider’s Flourish Mental Health Check, which is a survey tool that can be used to benchmark its workplace wellbeing. The survey measures factors such as absenteeism, presenteeism, retention, mental health support, financial difficulty, stressful life events and discrimination in the workplace.
This is part of its recognition that home life and past experiences play an important part in employees’ wellbeing at work.
These tools will help the school with the retention and recruitment of staff, and position it as an employer of choice, says Lisa Needham, co-head teacher at Springwell School.
“The anonymous insights garnered from the check will help Springwell School identify priority issues, ensuring that we invest in the right initiatives, as well as developing and implementing new policies, practices and support programmes that meet the needs of all staff,” she says. “This will aid in the creation of a mentally healthy workplace where everyone can flourish and no one is left behind.”
As a school, Springwell is aware of the impact that the cost-of-living increase is having on its staff and is able to direct them to the service in order to support any associated anxieties. As part of this, it is also investigating the possibility of introducing a financial wellbeing policy, which would support employees further by signposting them to additional financial support.
The school’s underlying premise is that a positive, caring ethos and environment, where staff are listened to and feel supported and appreciated, has a significant impact on the wellbeing of staff and most importantly the children, explains Maria Burrows, co-head teacher at Springwell School.
“We recognise that when wellbeing and mental health are prioritised, school staff have the potential to flourish and we want to provide a safe and secure means of accessing support from a professional team of qualified counsellors,” she says.
“We wanted to offer a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and do this by providing people with a choice of safe and confidential options that match with their individual needs, as well as being accessible in a way they feel comfortable with.”