A long time ago in an era far, far away West Coast was synonymous with hippiedom and ideas that frankly weren’t well… for us. However, the Silicon Valley revolution, the Internet and the rise of global dotcom power has placed the West Coast at the very centre of everything we now do and will do.
From Digital Learning to Educational platforms and portals the influence of technology has become all pervasive in the learning landscape. This power to influence work patterns and create 24/7 employment came at a cost and as the new millennium matured into the “noughties” work related stress and mental health came to be not something to be ignored or at worst derided in a Gordon Gekko style but a real issue that needed discussing and addressing.
Education came to realise that the demand for results, the rise of social media and the increasingly competitive nature of the work place was starting to have detrimental effects on students and importantly their mental health. PHSCE went from the fringe of the curriculum to the forefront, bringing with it a readiness by Schools to tackle tough subjects such as self-harming, teenage suicide, radicalisation and a slew of topics that would have been swept under the carpet even ten years before that. This readiness to be more open, involve outside bodies and experts, to be dare I say more West Coast has moved Education as an industry from the back of the queue when Well-Being is being discussed to the front.
Student Counselling, Student Voice, Forums, Blogs, Help Lines mean this generation, albeit under incredible external stress have a support network inside the Education system which, hopefully, they can use to meet the challenges of the changing world around us.
However, there is a yawning chasm in the sector between our provision for those being educated and what is available for the educators. According to Government statistics published in 2016 a third of teachers who joined the profession had left within five years. The financial strain on Schools also is huge £56 million being spent on advertising for vacant posts in 2015 which is 61% increase from 2010. With the DFE reporting that there will be 800,000 more children in the state sector over the next ten years anyone can see that the tipping point is being reached or is already here.
There are shoots of optimism, amongst the dystopian headlines, groups such as the Education Support Partnership https://www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk are doing fantastic work raising the issues of Well-Being and Mindfulness for teachers and Education forums and workshops are now starting to wake-up to the need for the educators to be catered for and listened to and how this could help stem the haemorrhaging from the profession.
Every Voice Counts aim is to be a valuable tool for teachers from Heads to NQT’s and Non-teaching staff to engage within their School, open dialogue and channels of communication and offer an environment where Well-Being and Engagement are at the very centre of how Schools manage their staffing relationships. Looking at the success of the West Coast Edtech sector Paul with twenty years’ experience in the IT sector has developed a model which allows Schools to open dialogues which may not have been possible in the more traditional hierarchical systems. The simple, anonymous style of EVC gives staff the opportunity to engage and influence the decision-making process and Managers to gauge and measure the success of their policies and review them in the light of input from internal stakeholders. Jon, with 30 years’ experience in the classroom and a former SMT member as well as a front-line teacher is well placed to offer the advice and issues that are important to teachers at “the chalk face” and in the meeting room. Whilst, the reasons for the current crisis in teaching and complex and manifold, EVC offers a conduit and a channel to expression and dialogue without fear of retribution or redress which is crucial to any organisation. Transparency, clarity and trust are at the centre of any successful entity whether that be commercial or educational. With an array of links to blogs, Well-Being and Mindfulness organisations and articles EVC offers a powerful tool for Schools to enhance the potential of their staff and offer a service at a very competitive price.
What was once West Coast is now mainstream and with Engagement proving to be crucial in retention, recruitment and the way employees feel about their work place EVC can be the key to opening conversations, informing decisions and involving element of any organisation, it’s employees.
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