School leaders gear up for Oldham mental health conference

Date published: 03 March 2020

More than 100 Oldham school leaders and wellbeing leads are going to a one-day conference this week aimed at better equipping schools and colleges to support the mental health of their staff.

Oldham Council and its partners have arranged the event, taking place at the White Hart in Lydgate on Thursday, March 5, which will also benefit the mental health of students.

The event is one of the suggestions made in the Our Minds Our Voices consultation, where 3,000 Oldham young people aged five to 18, spoke candidly about mental health in Oldham schools.

Young people recognised that some of the 7,000 teachers and school support staff in Oldham also have issues with their own mental health and wanted something to be arranged to help them.

The suggestion was that by helping teachers speak about their own experiences and then learn ways to help manage mental health issues such as anxiety and stress, pupils would also benefit with their own mental health.

The event follows on from a similar one run by experienced mental health experts for primary and secondary school children in Oldham in February.

Councillor Shaid Mushtaq, Oldham Council cabinet member for education and skills, said: “We are all working towards the same goal of ensuring our teachers and students have the best support available to flourish in their careers and studies.

“With the Teacher Wellbeing Index - Education Support Partnership 2019 - identifying that work-related stress has increased year-on-year since 2016, it is widely recognised that the wellbeing of education professionals is lower than that of the general population.

“However, our local data reports shows Oldham staff feel more supported than colleagues against this national comparison, but there is still much work to be done.

“Therefore, we need to work with schools and colleges, giving them the skills and partnerships to effectively support their staff and enable staff to effectively manage their own health and wellbeing.

“Doing this will also allow school and college staff to better support children and young people’s emotional health and mental wellbeing, which in turn impacts on their development and learning.”

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