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Research Intelligence

Autumn 2022

Research Intelligence issue 152: SOS (Save Our Staff): Protecting & enhancing staff wellbeing in education

SOS (Save Our Staff): Protecting & enhancing staff wellbeing in education

Research Intelligence issue 152

This issue of Research Intelligence is dedicated to the wellbeing of education staff and is a call to action for everyone to prioritise their own mental health and champion change.

After enduring months of Covid-related restrictions, the frustrations of technology dependency and myriad other challenges associated with the physical separation from our learning communities, the return to in-person teaching was a welcome relief for many pandemic-weary educators. Sadly, however, the stark reality of excessive workloads, high-stakes accountability and a culture of performance management has seen an exodus of teachers from across the sector with incidents of stress and burnout at unprecedented levels.

Guest-edited by Michelle Jayman, Jonathan Glazzard and Anthea Rose, this issue urges meaningful positive change across the sector. The editors posit that getting mental health strategies right involves collaborating with all members of the learning community and considering the local context. Crucially, tackling unsustainable workloads and addressing other systemic issues that adversely affect staff wellbeing have to be at the root of these strategies. The education sector must take the wellbeing of its workforce seriously. Words are not enough; actions, not exhortations, change people’s lives.

Contributions to this issue:

  • Sinéad Mc Brearty and Carol Savill-Smith at Education Support discuss the latest research on education staff wellbeing across the sector and offer some key recommendations in their overview of the state of the nation.
  • Highlighting personal stories from the frontline, Alison Pearson shares her research on the experiences of long-serving secondary school teachers using teacher resilience as the conceptual framework.
  • Jessica Odoi provides a primary school teacher perspective in light of the Department for Education’s Staff Wellbeing Charter and weighs up the real-world benefits versus the gaps in provision.
  • Michelle Jayman and Siobhan Lynam switch the spotlight to higher education with their exploratory research examining the impact of Covid-19 and the rapid shift to online teaching on university staff wellbeing.
  • Amy Mathura evaluates a service designed to provide independent professional supervision and considers the facilitators for, and barriers to, establishing effective provision.
  • Tim Dickinson discusses good practice initiatives that have been generated through collaborative action in his college and how championing staff wellbeing requires a holistic approach.
  • While contributing to the debate on institution-wide strategies, Jonathan Glazzard and Anthea Rose present their research on supporting the wellbeing of school leaders.
  • Ben Broadhurst, a final-year student about to embark on a career in teaching, discusses how prepared he feels for this milestone and shares his hopes and concerns for the mental health and wellbeing of the next generation of educators.

Elsewhere in this issue:

  • We feature programme highlights from the BERA Annual Conference 2022, including our keynote speakers, plenary sessions and ECR Lunchtime Lecture.
  • Jefferson Mainardes discusses strategies for promoting research ethics in education from a Brazilian perspective, including the contribution made by the Portuguese translation of BERA’s Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research.
  • Corinne Woodfine explores opportunities for reflexivity when participating in doctoral studies and how early career researchers can come to know themselves differently.

Guest editors

Profile picture of Michelle Jayman
Michelle Jayman, Dr

Researcher/Lecturer at University of Roehampton

Michelle Jayman is a developmental psychologist with a strong background in education and extensive work experience in schools. She is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton and a Champion for the British Psychological Society...

Profile picture of Jonathan Glazzard
Jonathan Glazzard, Professor

Rosalind Hollis Professor of Education for Social Justice at University of Hull

Jonathan Glazzard is the Rosalind Hollis Professor of Education for Social Justice at the University of Hull. He researches LGBTQ+, mental health, disability and early literacy. In 2018, he became co-convenor of the BERA SIG for Mental Health...

Profile picture of Anthea Rose
Anthea Rose, Dr

Research Fellow at University of Lincoln

Anthea Rose is a research fellow at the Lincoln Academy of Learning and Teaching (LALT), University of Lincoln. She is currently leading the local Lincolnshire evaluation of the Uni Connect programme, funded by the Office for Students (OfS),...