HEALTH

Following the Government’s suggestion that schools take Friday 18 December as an INSET day to reduce the impact of school based staff contact tracing over Christmas, the Greenshaw Learning Trust is hosting a National Inset Day.

The government has announced that ALL schools will, from September 2020, have to teach RSE (Secondary) and Relationships Education (Primary) and health education. This may seem quite a long way ahead, but now is the time to ensure that your school is ready to implement the key elements of the reforms. First of all, we’d like to encourage you to respond to the consultation on statutory SRE and Health Education, which is open now here.

The statutory areas include:

  • Features of healthy friendships, family relationships and other relationships.
  • How relationships can affect physical and mental health.
  • Staying safe online.
  • How to use technology safely, responsibly and respectfully.
  • How to keep personal information private.
  • Healthy eating.
  • Keeping fit.
  • Prevention of health problems such as drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
  • Recognition of mental health and ways to support good mental health.
  • Understanding consent.
  • Development of qualities such as confidence, resilience, self-respect.
  • Wider social and economic issues.

Here at The Alcohol Education Trust, we can help you with all elements needed to deliver comprehensive lessons covering consent, building resilience and resisting peer pressure, as well as fact files on the law, units, alcohol and its social and physical effects for Years 7 through 13. Nearly everything is free to access by both year group and topic, with plenty of online learning resources for children via www.talkaboutalcohol.com.

You can also access the free 100-page teacher workbook packed with games, activities and lesson plans, named national runner-up for The Education Resource Award for best Secondary school resource in 2017. If you’d like tailor-made powerpoints that are ready to deliver with accompanying guidance and notes, or specialist lessons for children with moderate learning difficulties, then you can access our store here.

Alcohol is often the first substance of experimentation among our pupils. Children who drink regularly before the age of 15 are then significantly more likely to engage in other negative risk-taking, such as taking cannabis, novel psychoactive substances (designer drugs), smoking and engaging in risky sex. Academic results suffer, with weekly drinking being linked to a drop in GCSE predictions of 20 points. Attendance falls too, and so life chances are significantly affected. With all of this in mind, ensuring staff in your school are confident in delivering alcohol education is key.

We know that specialist knowledge in school can be an issue in teaching PSHE topics, so we are here to help. Want face-to-face training, or a chat with schools coordinator Kate Hooper? Get in touch via 01300 320869 / kate@acoholeducationtrust.org! Over 1,200 schools across the UK use Alcohol Education Trust resources. Read some of their testimonials here: alcoholeducationtrust.org/about-aet/testimonials.

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An NUT survey in 2015 found that over half of teachers were thinking of leaving the profession in the next two years, citing ‘volume of workload’ (61%) and ‘seeking better work/life balance’ (57%) as the two top issues causing them to consider this. Research also shows that one in four teachers will quit the profession within the first five years of teaching. Yet, according to a Gallup survey in 2013, teaching was still voted number two out of the top 14 careers - beaten only by physicians.

Why did you go into teaching? Most of us came into it because we had a vision of how we thought education should be. We loved children, believed that we could affect change, had an enthusiasm for our subject, and we wanted to make a difference. Sadly, many of us have lost sight of that vision.

Consider this: On a scale of 1-10, how stressful is your job? Too often, we do not listen to our bodies, ending up with distress, which manifests physically as pain, muscle tension, injury or disease; emotionally with symptoms of jealousy, insecurity, feelings of inferiority, inability to concentrate, poor decision making, mental disorientation, depression, anxiety and so on.

In this article, I’m going to outline five steps to create delicious habits that will make you positively flourish at work!

1. Put your own oxygen mask on first

I am sure you will have heard it said, in the preflight demonstration, that if there’s an emergency, to put on your own oxygen mask before you help others. The idea is that you don’t become so preoccupied with trying to help secure everyone else’s oxygen mask that you forget to secure your own. You are not going to be much help to anyone, let alone yourself, if you’re in a pre-comatose state!

Teachers and school leaders often tell me they have depleted themselves for the sake of others - pupils, management, staff, family, friends. It’s important to take the time and care to secure your oxygen mask, then when the challenges of school life come hurtling towards you, you will have some foundations with which to deal with them.

2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Drink water throughout the day. By staying hydrated you'll be taking care of your most basic needs first. Water is also essential for cleansing the body, so try to drink at least four to six glasses a day.

Cut down on all refined and processed foods, sugar, fried fatty foods, additives and all stimulants like tea, coffee and alcohol. Instead, eat more whole grains, vegetables, fruit, whole wheat pasta, seafood, free range/organic poultry and dairy products. Make sure to eat enough to ensure your blood sugar isn't crashing. Have healthy snacks around, especially when you are ruled by your school breaks and busy schedules.

3. Start an exercise programme  

Walking, running, swimming, aerobics, dancing or yoga. Exercise regularly at least twice a week. There’s a lot of research out there that indicates the better shape you are, the easier you will find it to handle stress.

4. Take time off from the digital screens

While screens may feel relaxing, and allow you to turn "off", try and find a sans-screen activity to truly take time for yourself. Skip the TV and enact even the smallest self-care rituals, like:

  • A bath
  • Time to clean and moisturise your face
  • Legs up the wall with eyes covered for 5-10 minutes
  • A five-minute foot massage
  • Listening to relaxing music with a cup of tea
  • Journaling

5. Say “NO!”

This is the hardest word for a teacher to say! Most of us are kind and caring individuals, high achievers and hugely diligent. We teach because we want to make a difference, and the word ‘no’ is so hard to say. But we MUST say it if we are to survive in this culture of an ever-increasing workload. Try saying: ‘Not now’, and then give a future time frame.

Take Nottingham’s Education Improvement Board as an example. They have come up with their own fair workload charter. In brief, the charter defines what ‘reasonable’ means in terms of the additional hours teachers are expected to work beyond directed time each day. They say that school policies should be deliverable within no more than an additional two hours a day beyond directed time for teachers (and three hours a day for those with leadership responsibilities).

Schools adopting the charter receive the Education Improvement Board fair workload logo to use on their adverts and publicity. This reassures potential applicants about the workload demands that will be placed on them in choosing a charter school over one that hasn't adopted it. Read more about the charter at: www.schoolsimprovement.net/what-exactly-is-a-reasonable-teacher-workload.

Want to receive cutting-edge insights from leading educators each week? Sign up to our Community Update and be part of the action!

Loneliness is an increasingly detrimental issue that strikes the most vulnerable groups in society the hardest, with children and seniors being especially susceptible. Yet, it spares no one. 45% of British people report sometimes feeling lonely, and as many as 18% feel lonely all the time. Loneliness is not only an issue of scale; it has also been labelled as being worse for us than obesity and physical inactivity, having negative effects on both mental and physical health. So what do school communities need to know to help tackle this issue?

In January 2017, the UK government outlined its latest plan to tackle childhood obesity. The initiative places importance on children getting active and having more time and quality facilities to participate in sport, with the money from the sugar drinks levy invested into children’s participation in sports. Sport plays a vital role in so many aspects of our formative years, not the least their chances of being fit and healthy.

Primary schools leaders are being encouraged to take pupil health and wellbeing digital in a bid to boost healthy eating. Discovery Education Espresso, the leading digital learning service, have joined forces with Switzerland’s Alimentarium Foundation to launch an exciting new range of resources which take a fresh approach to Science and nutrition teaching.

Get Set to Eat Fresh, the healthy eating education programme for 5-14 year-olds from Team GB and Aldi, is supporting schools during Celebration of Food Week (June 12th - 16th) with new resources and special prizes. Next week will see pupils showing their love for fresh, healthy food with a range of cross-curricular learning opportunities.

Encouraging children to be active and play outdoors is becoming increasingly difficult as they opt to spend time indoors on a variety of technological devices. The lack of outdoor activity has contributed to the increased obesity amongst children. According to figures from the NHS, around 10% of children are obese in their first year of school. We at Hand Made Places specialise in designing, manufacturing and installing high quality timber playgrounds to encourage outdoor learning and play at schools, and here we explain why we do what we do.

Change4Life has launched a new Be Food Smart campaign to help children and their families discover how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in their everyday food and drink. To support the campaign, Change4Life has created a new set of resources to help Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils understand what’s in their food and how to make healthier choices.

A new Change4Life initiative, entitled Our Healthy Year and launched by Public Health England, is encouraging schools to build healthy habits in children during the school years in which they are weighed and measured as part of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). This teaching toolkit will be distributed to help increase the number of children leaving primary school with a healthy weight. Our Healthy Year will help schools to run a whole year of fun, healthy curriculum-linked activity and, in doing so, support parents who are looking for ideas to help live healthier lives.

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