Goodna State School (GSS) is a large primary school located in Ipswich with approximately 750 students and 108 staff. Forty per cent of the workforce is aged 55 years and over.
GSS's staff wellbeing program started in 2014 when the staff social club reformed as the staff wellbeing team (SWT). The SWT has developed several initiatives to improve staff mental and physical wellbeing, encompassing both organisational and individual strategies.
The multi-faceted staff wellbeing program has achieved bronze recognition through the Happier. Healthier. Workplaces recognition scheme. Further recognition has been achieved through other organisations, including the Heart Foundation which has implemented GSS initiatives for their own staff wellbeing program.
Key factors for success
Staff commitment and leadership
The GSS leadership team is committed to providing the best environment for the physical, emotional and professional wellbeing of all staff members.
The SWT is comprised of teacher aides, administration staff, a workplace health and safety officer, teaching staff and the leadership team. The wellbeing team leader attended professional development initiated by the principal for the benefit of the whole school. The leadership team believes that the academic and social success of students is largely dependent on teaching staff, and advocates that effective teaching requires a healthy and well teacher.
The SWT has grown from a few members to over 20, demonstrating an enthusiasm for improving the wellbeing of all staff. The SWT meets fortnightly and considers these meetings essential for the program's continued success. Participating in the SWT has had an added bonus of developing staff skills in publishing, planning, data interpretation and public speaking.
GSS's staff wellbeing team has no allocated budget. Team members volunteer to run or organise activities to ensure the program continues. Creative low or no cost wellbeing initiatives were implemented such as 'steal a duty' and yoga via YouTube. A small social club fee helps raise funds.
GSS employs a whole-school approach and has integrated staff wellbeing into the school's pedagogical framework.
GSS utilises Healthier. Happier. Workplaces tools (such as the annual Healthy people and healthy places surveys) to assess the environmental and individual staff needs within the workplace. This provides information on staff wellbeing needs and guides activities each term. For instance the 'steal a duty' activity is a mental health initiative that involves staff being encouraged to do someone else's duty as a random act of kindness. This is invaluable in boosting morale and occurs in terms two and four, when teacher fatigue and stress increases with report card writing. Staff are also offered a variety of activities based on needs, interests and demographics, from highly physical activities to book clubs.
GSS's staff wellbeing program includes strategies to increase staff physical activity, healthy eating and mental health, to help all staff manage their own health and wellbeing.
- tuck shop has a staff menu with healthy options
- staff recipe book—healthy recipes contributed by staff to share ideas with sections on healthy snacks and quick, healthy meals
- a free fruit bowl in the staffroom
- healthy snacks and drinks available in the staff fridge.
- GSS staff bootcamp, run by staff three afternoons a week
- Yoga after school, run by teachers and YouTube to reduce costs
- annual staff mini Olympics - physical activities and team building exercises
- access for staff to the school pool
- GSS register teams for several events each year (e.g Stadium Stomp, Colour Run and Steptember).
- happiness challenge
- mid-term mental health meals
- family fun day (2016 will be the inaugural day)
- term two and four are allocated as a 'steal a duty' terms
- newsletter includes an article each term on mental health issues such as work life balance
- professional development on team building and communication.
These strategies are communicated to staff via the SWT as well as:
- staff meetings—one meeting a term is allocated as a staff wellbeing meeting
- staff wellbeing newsletter - each one has a section on safety, mental health and upcoming events
- Facebook—a closed group for GSS is used for notifications, photos and communication.
Improving health and wellbeing prevents illness and injury and is an investment in your workforce. Find out what your organisation can do:
- call us on 1300 362 128
- visit Health and wellbeing at work.