As a member of our staff, your health and wellbeing is important to us. Every one of you is an integral part of what makes Unity Schools Partnership work. Whether you work in schools or our central team, we appreciate that health and wellbeing matters to how you feel as a person and how well you can perform your role.
We believe everyone working with us should have the opportunity to enjoy the highest possible standard of wellbeing and mental health. As a Trust we have signed up to the DfE Wellbeing Charter as a commitment to protect, promote and enhance the wellbeing of our staff. Our staff are a precious resource, valuing them and their wellbeing and mental health, is our priority. For our Wellbeing Strategy to be successful, staff need to be listened to and there needs to be an acknowledgement that one size does not fit all. Our overarching offer of support allows our schools to benefit from the range of expertise a central team can offer while also providing opportunities for tailored, school-based strategies. We recognise everyone has a role to play in creating and sustaining a positive wellbeing culture. We are committed to being an employer of choice, attracting and retaining the best people and we recognise our dedicated workforce is the foundation of our success.
Staff Wellbeing Group
We have a Staff Wellbeing Group who include representatives across the Trust and proactively promote staff wellbeing in all we do.
Our very active Staff Wellbeing Group meet on a regular basis to review strategy and its impact and current policies and activities, and plan for further services, events and resources to support wellbeing across the Trust.
Staff feel valued and listened to
The greatest lesson we have learnt to support wellbeing is that open, honest communication is the key. We have regular meetings with all headteachers and the central team; this is an open and transparent space to ensure everyone is heard, feels supported and understands the priorities for the trust. We recognise this has to be underpinned by a cross-trust approach to wellbeing, starting with a sustainable work-life balance, cross-trust support bespoke for each school, and a culture of valuing everyone. We like to thank our staff and provide opportunities to celebrate them as part of our wellbeing strategy. Small acts of gratitude and recognition, as part of regular line management meetings and professional growth (appraisal) meetings, help every person feel valued within our organisation. We actively seek feedback from our workforce through surveys, team meetings and staff forums. We are committed to continually develop and refine our practices.
We continually consult with staff to identify ways to improve workload, including investment in AI technologies (MIS). An example of this is the development of our CUSP curriculum and our phase / subject networking groups which result in shared resources and approaches to reduce workload on an individual level. We also operate an approach of ‘professional trust’ whereby we limit the number of emails sent outside of working hours with no expectation of a response until the next working day.
Flexible working & diversity matters
We commit to establish school cultures, and encourage all our schools, to support and value flexible working at all career stages. Our Flexible Working Policy includes an informal stage which facilitates discussions at an early opportunity. We also strengthen our efforts to promote diversity in the sector – eliminating discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity, and fostering good relations between those who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. We have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group who support a number of activities in schools and across the trust which include, as examples, celebrating International Women’s Day and recognising World Mental Health week.
Recognising Individual Needs
We are a trust that celebrates individual communities, and this means we give autonomy to our headteachers to ensure their schools can actively meet the needs of the pupils in their care. This also extends to the staff, as we have learned that what works well in one school may not be appropriate in another. Our Trust offers consistent wellbeing and workload support, but individual schools can decide what they need in the context of their community. We have a Trust-wide employee assistance programme, LifeWorks (see below), with proactive resources, a dedicated helpline and counselling sessions available to all staff and their families. We also have health and wellbeing consultants (see below) who offer programmes of wellbeing support to our schools as well as individuals. As part of a bespoke CPD plan we also provide training to school staff on supporting pupils’ wellbeing, with the majority of our schools benefiting from a dedicated mental health first aider.
Support where it is needed
Our central teams help to take the pressure off school leaders, teachers and business managers. This kind of support is one of the biggest advantages of our Trust. The central team provide more than just practical support – they help staff feel they aren’t alone, that there’s always someone there for guidance, support and advice. Staff wellbeing is a priority that is woven into the ethos of all our schools.
Focused support for school staff, pupils and central team
Our schools and central team are support by the fabulous Sue & Annie (OM Health & Wellbeing) who visit our schools and central team to offer training, advice and wellbeing workshops and also host a termly Wellbeing Webinar Series, covering a range of topics in an engaging and responsive way.
Employee Support Services
Ensuring you have enough capacity for home and work is a constant balancing act. There are times that work encroaches on home life and times where circumstances or events in your personal life affect your capacity at work. Sometimes, we have the tools to manage these peaks and troughs and sometimes they may start to feel unmanageable.
LifeWorks (Bravo Benefits)
This service can support with financial issues, work-related matters, family matters, emotional support, physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. There is a huge bank of resources, emotional support courses and a 24 hour, 365 day advice line.
24/7, 365 days access by phone
Support covering everything from becoming a parent, through to managing parenthood, childcare, legal matters and to caring for older relatives and dealing with death and loss.
Help and resources on everything from addiction, mental health, health habits (e.g. diet and exercise) and other physical health topics.
Help on personal relationships, legal issues and personal issues e.g. moving house, living with a disability or someone with a disability, critical incidents, LGBTQ+, retirement, family law, time saving strategies and personal growth
Support on everything from budgeting and saving, through to retirement planning and taxes and includes investing, retiring, debt, saving, fraud & identify theft and income changes.
Help on things like training and skills, communication skills, communicating with colleagues and managers, your working day.
We recommend using the service’s resources before you are at the point of needing specific assistance to give you a range of tools for supporting everyday life (money, families, relationships, work, health). Being aware of these resources and having easy access to them could prevent you getting to the point when you need specific help from another person or organisation.
Unity has invested in LifeWorks, to support your wellbeing. LifeWorks is an employee assistance service that aims to be a total wellbeing solution designed to help you improve your mental and physical health and productivity at work, school, and home. You can turn to LifeWorks for confidential support through your wellness journey—anytime, anywhere via mobile or web.
24/7 counselling and online wellbeing resources.
Wellness tools and personalised recommendations, such as assessments, digital clinical courses, and challenges to help you reach your health and fitness goals and keep you on track.
Perks to help you save money on daily essentials and key life events.
24/7 access to trusted, expert-led online audio, video, and article content on a variety of vital topics. Simply click the “Life” tab to visit the Support & Resources page if you’re on a desktop, or the “Life” icon at the bottom of the screen in the mobile app.
Support for up to 5 members of your household.
Log in to LifeWorks using the details emailed to you by HR. If you can’t find your log in details, please contact HRHelpdesk@unitysp.co.uk
Take lifeWorks with you everywhere to get the most of what we have to offer! Download the app on your mobile, laptop, tablet or desktop device, or add it to Teams…
This mental fitness will support you to cope with life’s stresses, relax more often, boost your positive thoughts, enjoy being in the present moment, build sustainable habits that are good for you by assessing your current situation and providing you with tools and mindfulness exercises to improve your current mental fitness, through your very own dashboard.
Free to all Unity Schools Partnership staff across all our schools and central team.
Just download the app onto your phone and ask HR Helpdesk for the code to log you in.
Policies and documents
There are a number of policies that determine procedures to keep you safe, mentally and physically, which you can view in the policies and documents section of our website.
You’ll find a vast range of support on LifeWorks in the form of programmes, videos, articles and podcasts. But here’s a helpful self-care workbook to get you thinking about being kind to yourself and a financial wellbeing guide to practical help in financially difficult times.