Joyful

Yorkshire-based businesswomen, Stefanie Wilkinson and Lou Mycroft have created a new movement called Joyful Education Ltd to help raise the profile of teacher wellbeing and provide solutions to individual educators, as well as education organisations across the country.

Through a range of Joyful Education initiatives, they are raising the awareness of workload, efficiency, culture and community to help tackle other factors that can significantly affect wellbeing. Stefanie Wilkinson has teamed up with Steph Cash, who is an early years specialist, to create Wellbeing Wednesday, as one of the main Joyful Education initiatives.

The Wellbeing Wednesdays have been created as interactive sessions available to any teacher across the UK. There is a weekly online session run by one of the Joyful Education partners and they aim to educate teachers on aspects of wellbeing, create an online community for teachers and therefore support the development of their wellbeing. Some of the key themes being covered in the sessions include nutrition, sleep and rest enhancement, mindfulness, including meditation techniques, forming habits and the importance of exercise.

One partner, Personal Trainer and Online Coach, Adam Batchelor, said: “I am very excited to be part of this team with some other fantastic partners. We all cover different areas of wellness but fully understand the importance of all of the aspects of the sessions. I have noticed a huge dip in mental health and an increase in anxiety, especially over the lockdown period. Teachers, in particular, have been under a lot of stress with the regulations changing, so it will be great to be part of a team who are helping with teachers' wellbeing especially during these very uncertain and stressful times.”

Partners already on board are: Liberty Mills, a Certified Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach, Jaqui Cooper, Accredited Coach and Reiki Master, Kelly Thistlethwaite of Yorkshire Yogi, Adam Batchelor, Personal Trainer and Online Coach and Vicki Dawson from the Sleep Charity.

As well as the weekly online sessions, Joyful Education will also be running Wellbeing Wednesday full-day events during half terms. The first session is planned for Wednesday 28 October. Each of the partners will run a virtual session throughout the day and the teachers won’t have to leave their own homes, meaning childcare and travelling may be easier for them and therefore help them to make this investment in their health and wellbeing.

Stef Wilkinson commented: “Educational environments are struggling to keep up with the demand of trying to increase student attainment levels with continuous sector challenges, changes and government policy. Teacher wellbeing has continued to be a problem, with a third of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years following training.

“In 2017, more teachers left the profession than entered it. Wellbeing initiatives have become reactive rather than being a high priority for all education leaders to factor into their strategic planning. Within the last couple of years, we have seen some movement of wellbeing being more of a priority, mainly in response to Ofsted including teacher wellbeing in the Education Inspection Framework. Through our work, we hope to help leaders to see that employee wellbeing is considered the most important factor when ensuring quality, high performance and productivity.”

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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