Responding to research: An interview study of the teacher wellbeing support being offered in ten English schools

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Abstract

Responding to reports of poor teacher wellbeing, policy makers in England have begun to implement policy focused on supporting teacher wellbeing.-Schools have begun to implement wellbeing support for teachers.-Teachers report that the wellbeing support offered can have both positive and negative impacts on their wellbeing.-Wellbeing support should aim not only to reduce in the moment feelings of stress but focus on structural changes. Purpose: Responding to research reporting low-levels of teacher wellbeing in England, policy makers have begun to implement strategies to support wellbeing. Given the recent introduction of such policy, this exploratory study describes the wellbeing support being offered to teachers, and perceptions of its impact on wellbeing. Method: A purposeful sample of ten schools (primary and secondary) in Greater London beginning to offer wellbeing support was selected and fifteen teachers were interviewed. Findings: Teachers describe a range of wellbeing support strategies being implemented in their schools and report, in some cases, activities designed with good intentions can harm their wellbeing. We apply the capabilities approach to analyse the interviews and argue wellbeing support should be matched to the needs of recipients and support should increase teachers’ freedoms to act, rather than simply mitigating in the moment feelings of stress. Limitations: Findings of this small-scale study cannot be generalised to other contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-94
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Science Education
Volume19
Issue number2
Early online date2 Mar 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Capabilities approach
  • Policy enactment
  • Teacher wellbeing
  • Wellbeing agenda

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