Caring Sir Frederick Gibberd College given gold award for caring during pandemic

A SCHOOL has been awarded for the care it has shown to the wellbeing of its staff during the Coronavirus shutdown.

Sir Frederick Gibberd College, in Harlow, has received the Teach Well School Gold Award: Corona Virus Pandemic for taking care of the physical and mental health of staff during the virus outbreak.

Headteacher Dee Conlon said: “During the school closures, it has been important to think about safeguarding our staff and look after their mental health and wellbeing.

“Any member of staff remotely at risk due to the virus has been told to stay at home. One leader in school makes a welfare call to members of staff each week to check and make sure they are ok. I then check in with the leaders and my line manager checks in with me.

“Every week, I am making sure the staff do something to keep in touch with the children, such as a video message. Staff are missing the children just as much as the children are missing them and school. We are looking at all the ways we can keep adults connected with the children.

“They are adults and understand much better what is going on and are able to control their emotions much better and make sense of things. But, ultimately, we have to look after the mental health of our adults especially as they are also feeling isolated and are out of their routine. Those of us going into school still have some interaction, but if you are at home you are missing that human connection.

“They all have my mobile number and know if they need anything – a chat or shopping delivered – I am here for them.”
Staff are being given the opportunity to take part in online courses for their professional development while they are working from home.

The gold award, from the Teach Well Alliance, is for the work that is happening on top of the previous work carried out by the school to reduce teacher workload.

Mrs Conlon said: “We have been working with teachers to make sure their workload is manageable and that they have a good work life balance. School leaders need to look after the adults because we need the adults to look after the children.

“We had already received the Teach Well School Award previous to this, but have now achieved the Gold award because of everything we are doing in response to the virus.”

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