Post-Lockdown: Moving Wellbeing and Resilience Up Your School Agenda

Keeping wellbeing and mental health high on your agenda

The Education Broker and Towergate Insurance are delighted to be supporters of Mindfulness in Schools Project, a national charity aiming to bring mindfulness to young people and those who care for them and look forward to working with your school to help bring teachers and pupils health and wellbeing to the forefront of the education sector.

In this article, Chivonne Preston, CEO at MiSP, looks at the very real toll lockdown has had and continues to have, and encourages schools to make sure that wellbeing and mental health is high on your agenda in the weeks and months ahead.

Overcoming emotional and psychological toll for staff and pupils

The UK’s education community has faced new and tragic challenges during the coronavirus lockdown, not least keeping schools open for vulnerable children and children of key workers, delivering food parcels to desperate families whilst also scrambling to deliver online learning to pupils at home.

As we now consider how to emerge from lockdown, we must also recognise that the emotional and psychological toll on school staff, pupils and families may take years to fully understand. For starters, issues will include:

The fall-out from complete reductions in social contact and movement. Many teachers and young people we have spoken to over the past few weeks have expressed anxiety about re-entering the busy, time-pressured, crowded working week of school. Multiple interactions, whilst invigorating, may for some also cause sensory overload, leading potentially to both emotional and physical fatigue.

Trauma. Many have experienced trauma through working with, or witnessing, harmful incidents on a personal or much broader scale: illness; death; domestic abuse; poverty; the breakdown of relationships. Together with a very real fear about the future, heightened by catastrophic scenarios played out in the media, our schools will be dealing with the impact of short and long term trauma on the whole school community.

Uncertainty. There is no end in sight to uncertainty about the future. How will lockdown be lifted? Will there be jobs and income? Who will get ill? Will exams run next year? What if pupils miss months of school? Will teacher workloads increase? What will the world look like next month, next year, next decade? We must expect that levels of anxiety and worry will rise for both staff and pupils.

Wellbeing and mental health are essential in schools

as leadership teams plan how they might re-open schools for more children, wellbeing and mental health can no longer seen as a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’.

It has never been so important to provide wellbeing programmes for both staff and students. In the immediate post-lockdown period, it is this that will provide the scaffolding upon which everything else rests.

About Mindfulness in Schools Project

At Mindfulness in Schools Project, we deliver information and training to build wellbeing and resilience in schools. At its most basic level, mindfulness helps train your attention to be more aware of what is actually happening, rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen, providing techniques to ground yourself when things begin to spiral out of control.

We start with the school staff, teaching them how to recognise their own experiences and practice self-care. They can then role model this in their school community before training to teach mindfulness to their children and young people. There is a large body of scientific evidence examining the benefits of training the mind through mindfulness.

Such benefits include:

  • Improvements in self-regulation, in self-esteem in sleep and in motivation
  • Reductions in stress, burnout and anxiety
  • The development of executive function including greater ability to prioritise, to concentrate and to problem solve

“Mindfulness taught me different ways to view situations I’m in and learn how to cope with them like responding and not reacting.”

“Mindfulness helped me cope with my biggest difficulties: stress, worrying and thinking negatively.”

Want to know more?

Find out more about their work on their website, where you can learn more about their primary, secondary and transition curricula, personal adult mindfulness courses and free information sessions.

Mindfulness in Schools Project Conference 2020

Join the MiSP online conference on the 20th June 2020. It will explore what Teaching Mindfully means and how to achieve it. Expert speakers will discuss the challenges and rewards of teaching mindfulness to young people in primary and secondary schools.

What does it mean to teach mindfully? How do you do it? How can mindfulness feature throughout the school day?

Find out more about this event

Tutors and teachers insurance from Towergate

As an education professional, you need to make sure you are protected against the unexpected in your school with adequate insurance.

Our teachers and tutors policies can be tailored to your needs, including professional indemnity (PI), civil liability and public liability cover.

Watch our video on taking care of yourself and others

About the author

Jo Taylor - schools insurance articles author Jo Taylor is an respected insurance industry leader with over 15 years’ experience working with both education and the public sector. She is responsible for supporting her clients on all things insurance and risk related, and is also a mental health first aider qualified through Mental Health First Aid England.