• Bradford Opportunity Area has funded a free and anonymous support service set up specifically for teachers and school staff
  • The service aims to provide practical and emotional support for school professionals operating in challenging times

A newly launched Wellbeing Support Service for teachers, funded by the Bradford Opportunity Area, has been rolled out across schools in Bradford, to provide teachers with free and anonymous support.

Bradford Opportunity Area, a government funded scheme, which was created four years ago, to help unlock the potential of young people living in Bradford, has launched the “School Staff Wellbeing Support Service” in association with the Centre for Applied Educational Research and Healthy Minds. The service offers practical and emotional support from trained counsellors and therapists for head teachers, senior leaders, teachers and other school staff, who are facing added pressure, due to COVID-19. 

The School Staff Wellbeing Support Service allows teaching staff to access services such as multiple counselling sessions, peer to peer webinars, best practice advice, support messaging boards and the latest COVID-19 school guidelines. All the services can be accessed anonymously so teachers can access regular support whilst maintaining their privacy.

The service collaborates with a network of NHS commissioned providers to expand and improve existing pathways of support across schools within the district, and to provide a sustainable model for leadership and employee support in schools for the future. 

Christian Bunting, Director at Bradford Birth to 19 Teaching School Alliance and Bradford Opportunity Area board member, said: “Teaching staff across the U.K. are suffering terrible pressures to keep teaching to the highest possible standard, despite the harsh reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions in place.

“I can see first-hand schools across Bradford working incredibly hard to keep things moving and adapting learning opportunities in order to better the education of our children. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed, and it is only right that we do our best to support their mental wellbeing.”

Lynette Clapham, Executive Head Teacher of Crossley Hall & Grove House Primary School, has witnessed firsthand the pressures teachers are facing in the midst of this pandemic, and how crucial the School Staff Wellbeing Support Service has proven. She said: “It is great to finally see a wellbeing service directly aimed at helping teaching staff, especially during such a difficult time.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has made our work lives so much more challenging, and many teaching staff are at breaking point and in need of this support.

“Already, a number of my colleagues are accessing the online support services. Sometimes staff may not feel completely comfortable going to a line manager or a school leader and have appreciated that the sessions are with an individual who is not directly involved with their school.

“We have never experienced pressure like this before and wellbeing support has never been more crucial to teaching staff. I only hope that the service can continue beyond the pandemic to ensure teachers across Bradford are equipped with support should they need it.

“My colleagues who have accessed the service have remarked how incredibly grateful they are to have access to it.”

The service is available to all Bradford schools, and the Bradford Opportunity Area hopes to extend the service past the pandemic.

If your school is interested in taking up the offer for wellbeing support please do get in touch with Bradford Opportunity Area via opportunityareas.bradford@education.gov.uk. For further information about the work the Bradford Opportunity Area does visit: bradfordopportunityarea.co.uk.

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