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If we do not ensure, first and foremost, that our teachers are feeling physically and mentally well, they cannot be their best for their students. Consequently, a school which does not prioritise staff wellbeing is disadvantaging its own students.
‘Students first’ is a misplaced sentiment: the best thing for students is a happy, healthy, motivated, well-trained, expert staff. By putting staff first you are providing for students the one thing which will help them make good progress in their learning: truly great teaching.
Whilst it is easy to say that schools would not exist if it were not for the students, the glib converse is that without truly great school staff, the students would not be taught. What we need – as recruiting subject specialist teachers, school leaders and specialist support staff becomes increasingly difficult – is a revolution in how we treat our school staff.
We have to put our staff before our students because it is the only hope we have of securing what our students need most: a world class education. The longer our schools are populated with hypoxic adults, we imperial all our futures.
About the Authors
John Tomsett has been a teacher for 27 years and a head teacher for 12. He is head teacher at Huntington School, York. He co-founded The Headteachers’ Roundtable think tank and is a popular speaker on school leadership.
Jonny Uttley is CEO The Education Alliance Multi-Academy Trust.