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How to maintain a healthy mind and culture during periods of challenge

As a school leader you care passionately about learning, your community and your pupils. You often put your team and others before yourself, giving time and energy to keep others going. What this may sometimes lead to is a sacrifice of your own well-being and mental health.

In partnership with Education Support, we’ve developed a toolkit to help you maintain a healthy mind and culture during periods of challenge, such as inspections. It offers practical exercises, tools and tips to help you implement healthy habits support your own well-being, and maintain a mentally healthy working environment for yourselves and your team during times of challenge.

We're also running a webinar on Wednesday 21 March, and have created two short videos to help support you and your team.

A practical toolkit for school leaders

This toolkit is split into three sections: 

1. Building a healthy mind and culture to deal with challenges and stress 

This is the section to read (and hopefully implement some of the hints and tips) before a challenge arises. If you are in a strong position when entering a challenging time, you will be much better prepared to deal with it. 

2. The challenge itself – the pressure of being under stress 

This is the section to read during an acute period of challenge. For example, when you’ve received the call to notify you of an inspection.

3. Managing the after-effects 

The impact of any acutely challenging scenario shouldn’t be underestimated. Taking time to replenish your reserves and reflect before the next challenge arises is an important part of the process.

You can download the toolkit here.

We have also developed two short videos to help support you and your team. Watch them below.

Webinar: Leading well and being well in times of crisis

Good school cultures underpin good staff mental health. But you can’t have healthy school cultures without healthy leaders. How can you stay mentally well when the pressure is on during an inspection? If you’ve ever asked yourself this, join our webinar to find out. Education Support will be talking with a mental health professional about how you can lead well and stay well during challenging times.

Together we will explore:

  • How we relate to others in times of uncertainty
  • How our unconscious motivations (aka drivers) can affect our behaviour and ability to relate to others when under pressure
  • The role of our professional or personal identity when things don’t go to plan 
  • What happens in our bodies during stressful times, and how we can protect our health
  • What support is available and how prioritising reflective space – like supervision – can help

Here are our brilliant speakers:

  • Eileen Fisher, Transactional Analysis therapist and college educator
  • Sinéad Mc Brearty, Chief Executive Officer, Education Support (Chair)

You deserve to take the time to prioritise your own mental health and well-being. Please join us on Thursday 21 March at 3pm. We look forward to seeing you then.

Register for the webinar at 3pm on 21 March.

Leaders helping themselves 

Leaders helping others


First published 28 February 2024