Reading Blue Coat School | Education Support
Coronavirus update: We continue to be here to provide mental health and wellbeing support to all education staff.
Ian King Reading Bluecoat School

Reading Blue Coat School

Reading Blue Coat School is an independent day school for boys with a coeducational sixth form in Reading, Berkshire.

HR Manager Ian King was convinced of the benefits of the Education Support Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) so he persuaded the leadership team to purchase it.  

A professional, expert, safety valve

‘The EAP works as a professional, expert, safety valve to help with problems that staff experience and we don’t necessarily have the expertise to handle ourselves. I’m an HR professional but I’m not a trained counsellor for example.

Having the Education Support badge on it has reassured our staff that the EAP can help with the specific issues faced in a school setting.

Positive feedback from staff

Several teachers going through personal and work-related challenges have said ‘Thank you very much’. They have used the helpline, and had counselling sessions. All have found it very helpful.

It’s always gratifying when you find something that is of benefit to your staff. Although everything is confidential, some people will share their experiences with colleagues in the staffroom. That is very positive, because the word does get out. Staff know that they can access it and it will be helpful.

Supporting staff welfare

About 18 months ago we set up a staff welfare group with 15 academic and non-academic staff members on it.

We meet at least once a term to review staff welfare issues and discuss potential improvements. The EAP service frequently gets discussed in a positive way at those meetings. It’s a good way to take the temperature of how effective the EAP is.

Support in times of personal difficulty

The Education Support EAP is inexpensive on a cost-per-head basis, yet it still delivers significant benefits.  During these Covid times, we’ve had to furlough about 80 or 90 staff. We had to bring them back, furlough them again and bring them back.

Each time this has happened, we have mentioned the Education Support Employee Assistance Programme as somewhere they can go for help. The counselling services have provided great support to our staff in times of personal difficulty.’