The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Lauren Peart-Roddis

Wrapping up a year of wellbeing and workload

The past few months at the TEAM Education Trust has been all about workload and wellbeing. Lauren Peart-Roddis reflects on what has been achieved and looks ahead.

We have been building on the work we have already done and implementing new initiatives, as well as taking time to reflect and celebrate all we have achieved to date.


We believe that everyone who works for our Trust should be paid fairly and equally and have the time to complete their roles to the best of their ability. 

We have taken time to ensure there is harmonisation of roles across the Trust for both teaching staff and non-teaching staff. This has had a happy consequence for some staff who have seen their pay increase to match that of colleagues in the Trust who are doing the same job.

A few staff members asked if they could increase their hours and we were happy to support this. By releasing extra skilled time into our workforce, we have a greater staffing capacity which will reduce the workload pressures on others. 

Throughout the harmonisation process, we have collaborated with unions to ensure they are content with our proposals and staff contracts. It’s been a productive and valuable partnership that we look forward to building upon in the future.

Blue envelopes

We have developed a new recognition of long-service scheme. Our new ‘blue envelopes’ include a note of special thanks along with a voucher that will fund a special treat such as dinner out, a night at the movies or a beauty treatment.

Second anniversary: our TEAM2gather

Our pace is so rapid, gaining momentum each week, so it is important to stop every now and then to reflect and celebrate all that has been achieved. We celebrated our second anniversary in June with a Trust wellbeing event. This was the first time every one from across the Trust came together in person – a sad outcome of forming a multi-academy trust during a pandemic.

Our celebration wellbeing event, named TEAM2gather, included a look back at the past two years and an introduction led by Dominic Curran of the The Human Wisdom Project; a program that encourages self-discovery and self-awareness. Dominic ran a session themed around how we identify ourselves and the ‘labels’ we place on ourselves before a lovely barbecue and time for colleagues to get to know each other.

Following the event, the evaluation indicated that 61% of staff found the wellbeing session helpful and 76% of staff found it useful to have the opportunity to get to know other people. This underpinned our understanding of the importance of human interaction and just how beneficial this can be for our wellbeing – something we have all learnt over the past few years. 

One of our biggest takeaways is to recognise that wellbeing and workload is not a simple replicable model and that it should be tailored to each setting.


Following a year of developing and implementing our wellbeing and workload strategy, the response we’ve had has been positive. We have seen an increase in the number of staff ‘thank you’ postcards being sent as colleagues recognise the fabulous work that their colleagues are doing. We’ve received so many positive comments relating to these postcards and birthday cards where staff feel appreciated and valued.

To monitor the progress we are making, this year the Trust has worked with Edurio, a feedback platform, to send out two wellbeing and workload surveys. Following the initial survey in December, a second survey was launched in June with very encouraging results. The standout areas of noted improvement include: 

  • general job satisfaction
  • Trust perception
  • culture
  • understanding
  • pay and conditions. 

Feedback that staff are happy with their pay and conditions responds directly to the work undertaken on harmonisation and demonstrates the positive impact this has had on our workforce. Although the feedback relating to workload was positive, there is still room for improvement. We hope that by the next survey in November further improvements will be reported following the allocation of more time in daily timetables following the harmonisation project. 

A clear indicator of the impact of all our actions in the past year is a comment made in the Ofsted report of one of our schools (May 2022):

“Staff appreciate the support that the school leaders give them. They say that leaders care about their wellbeing and are considerate of their workload.”

Lessons learnt

We don’t profess to be perfect; we have learnt many lessons this year. One of our biggest takeaways is to recognise that wellbeing and workload is not a simple replicable model and that it should be tailored to each setting. Grand gestures do not always improve wellbeing and workload and sometimes it’s the smallest and simplest changes that have the greatest impact. 

Investing in employees is the greatest investment of all

Our staff voice is vital. We are listening. Suggestion boxes in each school gave us a deeper understanding of the context of each school. What was important at one school, wasn’t necessarily valued at another. 

We have grown in our understanding that wellbeing is personal; not everyone will want to engage and that’s okay. As an employer we can do everything within our control to ensure our staff have a manageable workload, whilst recognising that wellbeing can’t be forced – even attempting to do so can have the very opposite effect.

The next steps

As the academic year ends, we are already making clear plans for the year to come.  Following our wellbeing session at our anniversary celebrations, we have arranged for two follow up sessions to take place to build the impetus on wellbeing. These sessions will be themed around ‘identity’; our theme for the 2022/23 academic year. We look forward to exploring identity further as we explore together what it means to be part of our Trust. 

As TEAM Education Trust grows and new schools join our family, we are on the lookout for wellbeing and workload practises that we can develop and adopt. In the new year, we are being joined by our fourth school and this brings the opportunity to collaborate with their Wellbeing Champion. There are exciting times ahead. 

On a final note, as we sign off this wellbeing and workload blog series, I conclude by sharing my personal belief that investing in employees is the greatest investment of all. 


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