The National Education Union Cymru say that advising and supporting employees who are experiencing mental health problems is not a substitute for action to tackle the root causes of work-related health problems.

David Evans, Wales Secretary of the National Education Union Cymru, said:

“Our members are clear that the Welsh Government needs to take the mental health of those employed in education seriously. We believe that changing the workplace and recognising the pressures on education professionals is centrally important.

“We’ll be seeking to work with Welsh Government and local authority colleagues to ensure that this must be a priority.”

ENDS

The text of the motion to conference on this issue was as follows:

Motion 4.        Mental Health in the Workplace     

The National Education Union recognises that there is a mental health crisis involving teachers and other education workers.  Factors in the workplace which contribute to stress and anxiety include:

  1. Harassment and bullying.
  2. Excessive and unnecessary workload.
  3. Oversized classes.
  4. Unruly and disruptive pupils.
  5. Other forces outside the workers’ control.

Support for members on mental health issues must be and is a priority for the NEU.  Advising and supporting members who are experiencing mental health problems is not a substitute for action to tackle the root causes of work-related health problems.  The NEU Mental Health Charter lays out the framework whereby the workplace can be changed so that the workers’ mental health is protected.  Changing the workplace not the worker is the aim of this union.

To that end, Conference Cymru calls upon NEU Cymru and the Executive through the Wales Committee to:

  1. Lobby the Welsh Government to introduce legislation to require all Welsh Unitary Authorities to introduce a mental health charter that protects employees by tackling the root causes of work-related mental health problems.
  1. Include in the legislation a requirement that the charter be actively promoted in all schools in the Authority by employee(s) engaged for that purpose.
  1. Require all Local Authorities (LAs) to appoint and train mental health first aiders in every school in the jurisdiction of the LA.
  1. Lobby the Welsh Government to provide all Welsh Local Authorities with ring fenced funding for the training of mental health first aiders.

Amendment                                                                          

  1. Add the following to the end of iii. “and to include both release time and appropriate support (e.g. compulsory supervision as for Counsellors and Educational Psychologists).”
  1. In addition, Conference instructs calls upon NEU Cymru and the Executive through the Wales Committee to: v) Lobby Estyn to include a measure of staff well-being as part of inspections.

Amendment                                                                                      

  1. Amend iv as follows:

After “funding for the” and before “training”, add “initial and ongoing”.

After “mental health first aiders” add “in addition to the time and resources to allow colleagues to access the provision as needed”.

Press contacts:

The National Education Union is an amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and National Union of Teachers (NUT), formed on 1 September 2017. Please see the below contact details for assistance:

Contact: David Evans, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07815 071164.

e-mail: david.evans@neu.org.uk

Contact: Mary van den Heuvel, National Education Union, Tŷ Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818.

e-mail: Mary.VandenHeuvel@neu.org.uk

Note to editors:

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges to form the largest education union in Wales.
  • The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.