Energy Coast UTC is one of only seventy schools to achieve the Teaching Well Alliance ‘Teach Well School Gold Award: Coronavirus Pandemic’ in recognition of its exceptional care for the physical and mental well-being of staff during partial closure.
Teach Well Alliance helps schools implement a culture of staff well-being and mental health through the delivery of support programmes and provision of well-being resources.
Head of Year 11 Rob Phizacklea, who nominated the UTC, said: “I felt that the award would be an appropriate way to thank staff for their ongoing support during lockdown. We are therefore delighted to see that our efforts have been recognised by a national organisation.”
A number of successful initiatives have been implemented to support both staff and students, including:
- A school counsellor is available for all staff and students to access via Zoom, ‘phone or text appointments.
- Virtual student support allows students and staff to chat online on a drop-in basis.
- Staff participate in regular online team briefings and department meetings ensuring they are all kept informed and able to see and chat with each other.
- Mental health and working from home resources have been made available for all staff and are regularly updated.
- Staff morale has been maintained with a range of fun activities that has included baking challenges, video challenges (such as the toilet roll challenge) and a weekly kahoot quiz.
- The Secret Friend scheme has continued throughout the period of home working, so that staff members can receive a little gift or message to lift their spirits.
- Line managers have been checking in with their teams each week and Principal Cherry Tingle has maintained an open door policy for anyone who needs to chat.
- For those staff who have had to physically enter the school building, full PPE has been provided, including masks, visors, aprons and hand gels, to make sure everyone is safe.
“I’m very proud of how our staff team has pulled together during this very difficult time,” said Cherry Tingle.
“Maintaining morale is vital in times of stress and we are doing all we can to ensure that our staff members feel listened to and supported. With this programme of support and with their determination, skill and commitment we have been able to deliver an excellent and comprehensive home-learning programme.”