A new teacher wellbeing toolkit is having a significant, positive impact on school staff around Australia.
The National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative’s (NESLI) Teacher wellbeing course is delivering an astounding 98% success rate, a study into the efficacy and impact of the toolkit has found.
More than 7,000 staff in 254 schools have completed the toolkit. According to the study’s findings, the schools that made the biggest gains were those in rural and remote areas.
The highest degree of impact was found to be upon participants’ physical health and their levels of optimism.
The study follows the release on Wednesday of the 2018 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Well-being Survey, which found worsening rates of violence, bullying and burnout among principals nationwide.
Violence jumped from 27% in 2011 to 37% in 2018. The highest number of threats of violence was found in government primary schools at 49%, while the lowest prevalence of threats was in P/K – 12 Independent schools at 12% -- still 1.5 times the population rate.
Paul Mears, general manager of NESLI Asia Pacific, said the confronting findings of the report demonstrate the importance of addressing these issue as “a matter of national urgency”.
“We know that teachers and principals in Australia are overworked and undervalued. The toolkit is designed to address these concerns and empower educators to better manage their health and wellbeing,” Mears said.
“The findings of this report show that, overall, teachers show increased levels of wellbeing and organisations achieve higher levels of social capital upon completion of the program.”
Dr Anna Dabrowski, Director of Education and Evaluation at NESLI and Researcher at the University of Melbourne said Australian educators report some of the greatest levels of job-related anxiety within the OECD, and education policies around student achievement place increasing stress both on parents, and on the profession.
“The results of the 2018 Principal Wellbeing Survey are unacceptable, but not surprising, and require us as a society to look at our perceptions of the teaching profession, and how we support those who care for and educate our children,” Dr Dabrowski said.
Encouragingly, says Dr Dabrowski, the gains that NESLI observed were highest in very remote and rural schools, as well as in states and territories which often report the highest attrition rates in the profession.
“NESLI’s Staff Wellbeing toolkit is a step in the right direction in addressing some of these issues. Our results indicate that a significant number of participants saw a positive shift in pre- and post-wellbeing and social capital levels.”