Preparations are under way as we plan to host a specialist wellbeing panel as part of a week-long festival led by Teachers Come First.

On Friday 9th October,  just ahead of World Mental Health Day (10th October), we will welcome a collective of education and wellbeing specialists from across the country to an online panel discussion, which will be chaired by the charity’s CEO Peter Wingrove.

Kelly Forrest Mackay, Head Teacher and pioneer of the new mental health curriculum in Wales; Elizabeth Williams, Chair of Mindfulness Wales; Victoria English, Shawmind Mental Health training partner; and Adam Parkes, Shawmind Champion, former Head Teacher and CEO of Parkes Education, will sit on the panel and answer questions put to them by participants.

Topics to be discussed will include: Having the courage to change the status quo; Mindfulness as a strategy for teacher wellbeing; Lessons learned from working with schools to implement wellbeing culture; Finding the time for self-care; and Teacher mental health training.

There will also be opportunities for attendees who register to participate to ask the panel questions.

Teachers, Head Teachers and teaching support staff have been invited to attend the free session which will last for an hour after school from 4pm on Friday 9th October.

Peter Wingrove, CEO of Shawmind, said: “Our successful 2017 Headucation campaign ultimately resulted in children’s mental health education becoming mandatory in schools from this year, but teacher mental health appears to have been neglected. We are working hard to address this through a series of initiatives including teacher basic mental health training.

According to a recent poll conducted by the National Governance Association (NGA), more than 51 per cent of staff governors believe their schools are not “effectively addressing” workload and wellbeing issues.

Panel speaker, Adam Parkes, CEO of Parkes Education, said: “We cannot successfully invest in student mental health, without accepting the need to improve staff wellbeing first. We cannot expect to deliver a successful wellbeing curriculum, if the teachers charged with doing it are, themselves, struggling with their mental health.

Teachers or teaching support staff who are interested in taking part in the panel discussion or asking a question can join the Zoom meeting here: http://bit.ly/TeachersWellbeingPanel

Anyone who is unable to take part in the discussion live will be able to watch a recording on the charity’s YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/ShawmindYouTube

The Teacher’s Wellbeing Panel is the first event in a week of activities, which will also involve short videos from some of the panel plus other special guests from the wellbeing sector. The videos will be hosted on the Shawmind YouTube channel.

The week culminates in the online Teachers Come First #tcfc20 Conference delivered by Teachers Come First and Positively Empowered Kids.