The last academic year was stressful, to say the least. Not even the Christmas holidays provided any solace with Matt Hancock advising that it was ‘absolutely fine’ for school leaders to work over Christmas in order to prepare for the rollout of Covid mass testing in schools.
However, while covid very much remains a swear word in most schools, we are moving forward. With some of the previous year's stresses removed from the picture, we very much hope that our school leaders have the chance to really enjoy their Christmas break this year.
With that said, we have collated and shared a number of suggestions from school leaders that we work with on how to make the most of the holiday.
Start as your mean to go on
Before you shut your office down behind you do yourself a huge favour and activate your auto-responder. Then remove your emails from your phone. This might sound a little bit terrifying but it’s a necessary step to ensuring that you get the break you deserve.
Avoid work chatter
Make your home a work-free zone or at the very least put an expiry date on it (e.g. after today I won’t mention school again). Talking about issues you might be having is totally healthy and normal but don’t let school take over your Christmas. Trust us the last thing your family wants to hear about while you carve the turkey is OFSTED!
Make time for you and the things you enjoy
Doing something you love and enjoy is the perfect way to destress. Play a round of golf, have a long soak in the bath, go for a hike or whatever it is you like to do.
Additionally, don’t forget to practice a little bit of self-care. Lots of our school leaders found that getting into nature really helped them. While others said that they found mindfulness helpful as it allowed them to gain more awareness of their moods and reactions.
Reach out if you need to
Having worked in education for many years, we understand that sometimes it’s just not possible to switch off. We all handle stress and pressure in different ways and it’s really important to us that all of our school leaders know that help is out there if they need it.
Education Support is a UK charity dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of the education workforce. That workforce includes you! There are lots of great resources on their website as well as a 24/7 support line.
We hope that every single one of our school leaders has the very best Christmas. You certainly all deserve it after the hardships of the past few years.
Don’t forget that if it’s a new role that you are looking for this New Year, we can help. We support a wide range of schools and multi-academy trusts across the UK to allow us to offer a variety of interim and permanent vacancies all of which you can see here.