Burnside State High School have achieved Gold recognition in the Be Recognised program, which acknowledges organisations that embed health and wellbeing into their organisational systems and culture.
Burnside State High School (Burnside SHS) has undertaken a new wellbeing programcalled Statement of Intent, which provides opportunities for staff to manage stress levels, create healthy living habits and be better equipped to do their job effectively.
The program was developed by the Staff Welfare Committee which formed in 2011 and meets several times a term.
Initially the school didn't have any formal process to identify or address the wellbeing of staff. To develop the program the school consulted with staff through discussions and surveys to identify concerns staff had about their wellbeing at work.
The school now undertakes a more rigorous cycle of assessment to help create annual action plans about staff wellness. These assessments include the analysis of school opinion surveys, completion of the healthy workplaces/worker surveys and reviewing previous action plans.
The school provides staff with relevant information on how they can improve their health and wellbeing and has also improved its physical environment to offer spaces and equipment for physical activity and social wellbeing to take place. Initiatives evolve from year to year based upon staff feedback and have included:
- Equipping all staffrooms with wellbeing stations containing items such as sunscreen, sanitiser gel, healthy snacks, tissues, throat lollies and health-related pamphlets to provide constant visible reminders that staff wellbeing is valued.
- Positioning a wellbeing bowl next to the pigeonholes where staff can grab a piece of fruit each morning.
- Offering weekly Pilates classes after school for all staff.
- Rotating Friday morning tea duties between staffrooms on a weekly basis to ensure staff have the opportunity to mingle between faculties (promoting collegiality and comradery).
- Recognising an educator of the week at events to acknowledge the efforts of staff.
- Providing staff access to a newly refurbished gymnasium/weights room.
- Organising free flu vaccinations for staff during school.
- Promoting many of the already established health campaigns (R U OK Day, Shave for a Cure, Day for Daniel, etc.)
- Running an annual wellbeing week program that entails activities such as visits by nutritionists, workplace massages, pedometer challenges, lunchtime relaxation sessions.
- Staff access to the school chaplain, school nurse and external counselling services.
- Strong management support for part-time working hours and leave approval.
The wellness program aims to improve staff morale and the perception of the school. This improvement can be seen in the results of the recent Education Queensland staff school opinion survey. Results included:
- 100 per cent of staff enjoy working at Burnside SHS.
- 98.6 per cent feel the school is a safe place to work.
- 95.8 per cent feel the school is interested in their wellbeing.
- 98.6 per cent believe that Burnside SHS is a good school.
Other benefits achieved by the program include increased staff attendance rates, 97 per cent over the last four years. A high retention rate of staff, indicating that staff feel valued (97 per cent from 2017-18). Supply teachers comment on the calm and enthusiastic manner in which permanent staff approach their business.
Some challenges and learnings that have been experienced include:
- Changing culture is a gradual process.
- Staff consultation is essential in gathering ideas and during the evaluation processes.
- Not all staff will be engaged, but the outcomes show that the resources invested in a wellbeing program is cost effective.
- The wellbeing program has genuine commitment from management which is necessary for success.
Attainment of gold level status has reinforced the understanding that enhancing staff welfare is a priority at Burnside SHS. It provides acknowledgement that valuing wellbeing is part of the school's culture and has led to other schools making contact with Burnside SHS so that ideas can be shared.
Workplace size: Medium
Industry: Education and training