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Education Support - Education Support
Last updated September 2021

Member Spotlight - Education Support

We spoke to one of ACO's newest members Education Support to find out more about their charity and how they support education staff. 

Think back to your school days - to that one teacher who inspired you and helped you become the person you are today. Imagine if that teacher had been so stressed with work pressures, that they left the profession for good. This is a growing reality for those in education today – with 52% of education staff planning to leave in the next few years due to stress and workload.

Established 145 years ago, we are the only UK charity dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and education staff in schools, colleges and universities. Our mission is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and education staff. We believe that better mental health leads to better education.

Through our free helpline, grants, counselling, guidance, professional and organisational development services, we work with hundreds of organisations and thousands of staff across the sector. The impact can be lifesaving and more teachers, lecturers and support staff turn to us for help each year.

“Education Support was a real lifeline. They understand the pressures that teachers are under, and their lives, and make it more human,” John, a secondary school teacher.

Across the sector stress levels remain high, wellbeing is compromised, and high workload is affecting staff absence, presenteeism and retention. The wellbeing of UK education professionals is consistently lower than the general population. And whilst all of these issues were present before the coronavirus pandemic, there is no question that they have been compounded by Covid-19.

Like many charities, we have had to quickly adapt our services in response to the pandemic. Early on, we developed a range of digital resources, which have now reached over 145,000 people. In addition to this, across 2020/21:

  • 9,570 people were supported by our counselling helpline
  • 342 support grants were awarded to applicants
  • 5,351 staff were helped via our Employee Assistance Programme
  • 277 school leaders received telephone supervision or facilitated peer support through services developed and launched during 2020
  • We saw 764k visitors to our website - an increase of 85% from 2019/20

Our grants programme: a spotlight

Education Support was established as a benevolent charity, with the core purpose of relieving financial hardship across the education sector. We continue to provide financial support to current and former teachers and education staff, with two key aims: to help staff remain in their job and to help staff remain in their homes.

Many people come to us because they are experiencing financial issues in relation to things such as unemployment, ill-health, a sudden life events or bereavement. Our assistance covers short-term financial emergencies, essential but unaffordable items, living costs and help to stay in or get back to work.

Our recent impact results tell us that 93% of people believed the grant had a positive impact on their financial circumstances and 96% of people would recommend us to a colleague.

Before the grant: “I worry daily about how we can cope. I am trying to home school my children, teach online classes and care for my shielding husband. In truth, it has never been harder than this for me, and worrying that house repossession could start at any moment is incredibly stressful.”

After the grant: “The Education Support grant has given me the financial lifeline I needed. They have been extremely caring & helpful.”

So what next? As we contemplate how to best support teachers and education staff over the next academic year, and beyond, we will continue to engage at each level of the education sector:

  1. Individuals: supporting teachers, and education staff, to prioritise their own mental health and wellbeing while providing services to support those most in need.
  2. Education institutions: providing practical advice, tips and guidance so that education establishments can tackle the causes of poor mental health and prioritise the mental health of their staff.
  3. Advocacy activity: underpinned by our belief that the Government must prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of education staff.  We will continue to publish our yearly teacher wellbeing index to understand the needs of the sector and drive our advocacy work.

We have recently launched our new website, which represents a change in our brand and a place where education staff can navigate the information they need easily.  We will continue to grow our capacity and reach, with a renewed focus on measuring the impact of our work. We will continue to share best practice, raise awareness and make sure that everybody working in the education sector has access to support should they need it.