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NAHT Cymru

NAHT Cymru is the definitive voice of school leaders in Wales. We keep the best interests of children at the heart of everything we do.

Along with our colleagues in England and Northern Ireland, we are here to defend and extend the rights of our members, as well as provide advice, protection and support specific to school leaders throughout Wales

NAHT Cymru yw llais diffyniadol arweinwyr ysgolion yng Nghymru. Mae buddiannau gorau plant yng nghraidd popeth a wnawn.

Ynghyd â'n cydweithwyr yn Lloegr a Gogledd Iwerddon, rydym yn bodoli i warchod ac ymestyn hawliau ein haelodau, yn ogystal â darparu cyngor, diogelwch a chymorth sy'n benodol i arweinwyr ysgolion ledled Cymru.

NAHT Cymru well-being survey results highlight school leaders’ concerns for new term

Members of school leaders’ union NAHT Cymru say a potential new wave of Covid is their main concern for the new academic year starting this week.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of school leaders taking part in an NAHT Cymru survey said that, for the autumn term, a new Covid wave was their top worry. This is followed by the wellbeing of staff (73%), rolling out the new curriculum (68%) and the wellbeing of pupils (56%).

The top causes of stress for school leaders when they undertook the survey at the end of last term, were Covid rules and regulations (74%), concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of staff (68%) and the roll out of the new curriculum (also 68%). Six in ten (59%) stated the new ALN code of practice and almost a third (31%) of respondents listed Estyn inspections as top causes of stress.

A large majority (82%) of respondents reported that the pandemic had had a negative impact on their mental health. Those that reported poor or very poor mental health came to 39%, and 28% reported that their physical health had been very poor or poor over the previous 12 months.

Almost all respondents (94%) agree that their school would benefit from having more time to focus on developing the new curriculum in Wales.

Laura Doel, director, NAHT Cymru said: “The Welsh Government’s new Covid-19 operational guidance for schools has removed of some key mitigation measures, such as the ability to stagger start and finish times and placing learners in contact groups. Those measures are now deemed unnecessary by the government, even though they had very little impact on the delivery of education.

“While school leaders are eager to get back to ‘business as usual’, given the current circumstances of Covid cases being on the rise in the community, unfortunately, there is a sense of apprehension about the autumn term.

“Quite rightly, there has been a great deal of focus on the mental health and well-being of pupils during the pandemic, but we need to recognise and pay attention to the well-being of school staff too. There were already serious concerns about the well-being of teachers and school leaders before the pandemic, and our survey adds to strong evidence that suggests that the pandemic has only exacerbated this pre-existing issue.

“The quality of teaching is a crucial factor in addressing attainment gaps, and if we want teachers and leaders to be at their best, we cannot continue to only pay lip service to the issue of their well-being. The government has begun to recognise the scale of this issue with the Whole School mental health approach, but this does not go far enough to address our concerns and there is an urgent need to be much bolder.

“The well-being and mental health of school staff must be placed at the heart of the recovery process, and the Welsh Government must be prepared to look again at some of the fundamental problems driving excessive teacher workload.”

Laura added: “Schools already play a significant role in supporting the mental health and well-being of their pupils. Emerging evidence suggests that the demands on this provision have increased significantly.

“Schools need to be properly funded so they can enhance and expand their contribution to promoting good mental health and well-being amongst pupils of all ages, identifying any emerging mental health needs and referring those pupils on to health professionals for support and treatment where appropriate.”

Kerina Hanson, president of NAHT Cymru said: “NAHT’s blueprint for education recovery, which we have recommended to government, draws on the vision our members have for the future of education in Wales, and our expectations are on the government to harness our ambition for change: we can’t just return to ‘normal.’”

The survey took place in the first two weeks of July 2021, and there were 111 respondents.

First published 01 September 2021

Please give us your views  on the current consultations

 

Welsh Government

Independent review of school teachers pay and conditions in Wales

OPENED 18 January 2018 - CLOSES 1 March 2018

NAHT Cymru draft response of independent review

Support for doctoral study
OPENED 8 December 2017 - CLOSES 2 March 2018

The Education (Amendments Relating to Teacher Assessment Information) (Wales) Regulations 2018
OPENED 14 November 2017 – CLOSES 30 January 2018

Recent consultations

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