Mental Health and Well Being During COVID-19

February 2021

Staff wellbeing is uppermost in our minds and we are committed to working with all school and setting leaders to signpost resources and offer access

to appropriate support for leaders and for school staff.

Please visit the Bog Education website to access a copy of  their Staff Wellbeing ‘playbook’ created for schools to share.

This is a very helpful reference tool: to address your own wellbeing as a leader and to support your staff.


Resources shared on behalf of  Surrey County Council and Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

       to support education professionals to care for their mental health and well being



A video has been developed to support education professionals - please share in school

We all know that before COVID-19, working in school was stressful, but the COVID-19 crisis has brought new levels of uncertainty. We want you to remember that your well-being comes first. If you feel overwhelmed, we encourage you to take care of yourself and seek support. We hope that this video presentation will give you some ideas and resources to support you in that task. Overall the duration of this video is 29 minutes long but we encourage you to stop and pause the video when suggested for reflection. 

Access the video here

The aims and objectives of this video is to:

  • We will identify different stressors that the school staff experienced before COVID-19, as well as what additional stressors the COVID-19 crisis brought to your lives.
  •  We will look at the impact of those stressors on the school and your mental health and well-being.
  • We will explore how the school as an organisation can support staff.
  • We will investigate what steps an individual can take to look after his/her mental health and well-being.


The following leaflets have been developed for use in schools - please download and share








Take a few well deserved moments to reflect on your own well-being with this thinkpiece from Michele Miller.   

“How are you doing?”

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” 
Homer, The Odyssey

In writing this piece I am mindful that I am speaking to our community of Heads who are living their core purpose every day; a core purpose that places children and young people at the heart of every decision, every conversation and every action they lead.  They usually model endless positivity, determination and resilience

Yet, despite the best of will, the demands of our current day to day are exhausting.  My personal observations from working with our leaders include:

  • It feels like ‘lose/lose’ - Leaders are fully aware of the importance of strategic thinking but finding time to do this whilst navigating the complexities of the everyday is a challenge.  We know that we are still accountable for learning.
  • It must be utterly exhausting to be the figure head who needs to be the ‘swan’ for everyone else (looking serene whilst paddling frantically beneath the surface)
  • Leading in Education is very ‘public’ – many stakeholders have a view of your leadership and feel able to comment on it in a way that seems to happen less in other sectors.

This may read as defeatist, and that is certainly not the intention.  The aim of this piece is to acknowledge these issues.  To say them ‘out loud’, and to make it safer for our school leaders to speak about and share the challenges they face in an appropriate environment. 

The reality of the moment means that however we dress it up, the life of a Headteacher (and all teachers and other educational professionals) is even tougher than usual.  One of our secondary Heads was recently asked about his well-being by visiting Ofsted inspectors.  His response included the word ‘relentless’.  It describes the environment perfectly.

‘Well-being’ is a phrase that can lead to raised eyebrows.  It is not unusual for Headteachers to smile at the mention of well-being as if to say, “if you think I have time for that, you don’t understand my job!” Again, in the spirit of saying it out loud, there is an even greater imperative to prioritise well-being at this time. 

At SAfE we are looking forward to re-starting our ‘Heads-up’ network later in the Autumn term.  Heads-up provides an opportunity for Surrey Headteachers to meet for facilitated discussion around a current and relevant topic.  We will communicate with you in due course to share the details of the next Heads-up event.

Don’t underestimate the value of your WhatsApp (and other) networks to check in with each other, or exchange ideas and perhaps share the burden. Talking really does help!

In the meantime, we encourage you to ‘take stock’ and check in with your well-being. You might find the wheel of life a useful tool to use.  Accept that in these extraordinary times, you are doing an extraordinary job, but it is inevitably at some cost, however small, to you. 

We are immensely proud of our Headteachers and how they continue to lead their communities.  You are doing a phenomenal job in so many ways.

The Education Support website has published a range of excellent factsheets that could be of interest for Headteachers as they try to prioritise well-being.

Also, the Anna Freud National Centre for children and Families also has some great resources for supporting staff well-being through coronavirus.

There are, of course, a vast range of other resources that you may find useful – if you have something that is really effective, do share it with the Heads you are in touch with, and with us!

Michele Miller

Schools Alliance for Excellence


Mental wellbeing resources for teachers and school staff


Phase Councils : supporting every Surrey Headteacher

Working in partnership with SAfE, Phase Councils provide well-being support and guidance to Headteachers. For further information about the services that are available from each Council, please contact the following;

Jo Jones – Primary:

Cassia Steinbarth – Secondary:    

Di Hodson – Special:

Sue Lewis – EYFS:


Self Care

Brian Phelps, School Counsellor at Hinchley Wood School, has developed a series of short Self Care and CPD videos to support staff during this time.

You can view an introduction to these videos here.

Video 1: Managing Shock

Video 2: Adjusting To Home Working

Video 3: Working from Home

Video 4: Bereavement

Video 5: Self Care


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