9. Supporting The Workforce
We know that the education workforce has faced a number of challenges in the past year and, while teaching and support staff in schools, colleges and universities have risen admirably to every challenge they have faced, for many there will have been an impact on their own wellbeing.
The workforce will continue to play a vital role in supporting our children and young people to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, and it is essential that staff in all education settings are given the support they need to do this.
£1.5 million was allocated to a package of support for staff in schools in 2020/21, and there were a total of approximately 4,200 engagements from headteachers, teachers and other education staff across all elements of the package.
This support included:
- Communication of available professional learning and wellbeing support available from employers, professional associations and national organisations, now accessible in a single page on the ES website;
- Mental health and wellbeing support from Barnardo's Scotland and Place2Be;
- Stepping Stones: professional learning opportunities for post-probation teachers led in partnership by the General Teaching Council for Scotland and Education Scotland;
- Reflective supervision, and coaching and mentoring support from a number of partner organisations; and
- Continuation of the Scottish Government's commitment, in partnership with the Hunter Foundation, to the values-based leadership programmes delivered by Columba 1400.
In the college sector, we have allocated additional funding of £4.4 million for colleges to support both students and staff to deal with the impacts of the pandemic.
For our practitioners working in early learning and childcare, support has included and will continue to include:
- Ongoing delivery of a suite of free continued professional learning (CPL) modules, and a national directory of wider CPL opportunities, to ensure a high quality ELC experience delivered by a skilled and confident workforce;
- Running a series of webinars for childminders on key topics currently of greatest interest and in response to COVID-19;
- Introducing a #TeamELC Wellbeing Hub with partners, which hosts a wealth of information, practical advice and webinars on managing wellbeing.
- Funding a national quality improvement programme, delivered by the Care Inspectorate, to support settings which are not currently meeting the quality criteria within the National Standard of Care Inspectorate evaluations of 'good' or better.
- 'Public Health Blethers' to give the sector the opportunity to engage with and ask questions of public health experts.
Education Scotland also provide bespoke support for ELC settings, local authorities and RICs through regional improvement teams, working closely with local authority and RIC staff to develop joint plans for professional learning and quality improvement, along with a range of guidance and other professional learning initiatives.
In addition to the work set out above, we will take the following key next steps to support the education workforce and to recover from the impacts of COVID-19:
1) A further £750,000 package of support will be offered to support the education workforce in 2021/22. This package will build on the support offered in 2020/21, with a focus on professional learning which develops staff wellbeing. The provision of coaching, and the offers of coaching and professional learning, were highly evaluated aspects of the 2020/21 offer and will continue to be a key feature of the new package of support led by Education Scotland.
The 2021/22 package of support will include:
- The development of Staff Wellbeing Communities of Practice;
- A Professional Learning and Leadership (PLL) coaching programme, coach professional development and a 1:1 Coach matching;
- Building Coaching Skills capacity across Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs);
- 1:1 National Coaching offer;
- Coaching and Mentoring support for educators from minority ethnic backgrounds;
- A 'Stepping Stones' Programme.
2) There has been an ongoing and evolving programme of PLL support via digilearn.scot for digital learning, teaching, assessment and leadership.
3) We are working with the General Teaching Council for Scotland to ensure enhanced support for probationer teachers' wellbeing, knowledge and skills development.
4) The General Teaching Council, the Scottish Council of Deans of Education, ADES and the Student Placement Management Group have also developed arrangements to ensure that 20/21 students of Initial Teacher Education can complete their programme of study in the new session and if successful move into probation.
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