Looking after pupils means looking after staff - Hurstpierpoint College

Looking after pupils means looking after staff

Mike Lamb, Hurst College’s Director of Staff and Pupil Wellbeing explains why pupil wellbeing should be at the top of the education agenda and staff wellbeing should follow close behind.

In a similar manner to other industries, research published over the past few years has supported the suggestion that happy and contented staff produces positive outcomes which in private schools, as well as maintained ones, should mean happy and contented pupils. The ideal situation should lead to optimum outcomes for all, from mental health to exam results. It is for this reason that schools must prioritise staff wellbeing and develop cultures that explicitly value and support staff.

Promoting genuine staff voice allows for individuals to feel as if they are really being heard and therefore valued. Such listening exercises can bring insightful perspectives on an organisation from the chalk-face and often provides simple and effective suggestions as to how to improve working practices. Independent schools who listen to their staff are likely to be more reflective and effective at delivering successful outcomes.

Having everyone on board is key for driving every organisation forward and staff wellbeing can be a way to bring people together to achieve the common goal of improving working lives for all. Ensuring you reach all employees from cleaners and kitchen staff to management is key to the success of delivering change and the sign of effective leadership as everyone works towards a common goal. Support from the highest level of management is also key to the success of improving staff wellbeing.

In the same way that schools value challenging, supporting and developing pupils they should want to do the same for staff. Creating a working environment that is high challenge but low threat helps develop staff. Having clear and visible support networks allows individuals to ‘fall back’ on others and ask for help when they need it. A supportive and developmental approach to staff performance reviews helps create a culture of improvement and progress that empowers staff to take control of their careers and reach their goals.

Teachers at independent schools have a reputation for being more sceptical than most about new initiatives and schools who add a cake day or a one-off yoga session are unlikely to impress staff who feel overworked and undervalued. Therefore, adopting a positive approach to staff wellbeing that leads to a culture of wellbeing rather than a few bolt-on evening class initiatives is key. Addressing the big issues raised by staff is essential or they will quickly lose their enthusiasm if only lip-service is being paid to the idea.

Hence it is with consideration of the above, alongside the latest research, that we need to value and support our staff so they can do the same for our children.


Please follow the links below for further information about Hurstpierpoint College, an independent, co-educational, day and boarding school for pupils aged 4–18, located just to the north of the village of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.

Prep & Pre-Prep
Senior School
Sixth Form
College Campus