Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust: prioritising staff wellbeing

Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust is a group of nine Academies in Essex. Paul Griffiths, CEO, introduced our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) two years ago. It has since been a key part of the Trust’s journey towards prioritising the mental wellbeing of its staff.
Paul tells us in his own words why our EAP fits in so well with the vision Osborne Co-Operative Academy has for the wellbeing of its staff.

Your stories / 3 mins read

"Staff are sometimes very private about their concerns. If those concerns are resolved it means that they are happier in their work and can have a better quality of life."

Osborne Co-Operative Academy Trust was the first co-operative multi-academy trust in the country in 2011. As a co-operative, our values focus on caring for others and taking responsibility for our community. We had felt there was an important contribution that the school could make to the community long before we became a multi-academy trust. The Education Support EAP provides us with an opportunity to develop our values around self-care and shared responsibility for each other.

We support staff and pupil wellbeing – it’s about having mentally healthy schools. We understood the importance of this prior to Covid. Going into a national pandemic has made it even more important to look after our staff as many have caring responsibilities and other challenges.

Helping staff be happy in their work

The Education Support EAP came at just the right moment because we wanted to make sure staff had direct access to support services through our website. Staff are sometimes very private about their concerns. If those concerns are resolved it means that they are happier in their work and can have a better quality of life.  I know of a few examples where staff have been able to get counselling and support at exactly the right time for them.

As CEO, I’m working with 12 headteachers. I’ve been able to make sure we put the EAP on the table as an offer in any circumstance –for example in a bereavement or an uncomfortable situation with staff. Sometimes problems with working relationships can cause people to leave. If there is an opportunity for them to get support from someone who is not their line manager it might help them to stay. This programme has potential to help when you need to maintain equilibrium in an organisation.

It’s a really great opportunity to support all staff and their wellbeing. It’s got to be something that’s vested in the values of your organisation and is what you’re about. 

Staff are people who work for you but they are also people in your community. Many of them bring their children to school. If they are content in life, their children will be content when they come to school. We see it as a holistic approach to ensure that we have mentally fit staff and mentally healthy relationships in our organisation.

Championing mental wellbeing

Working with Education Support has inspired us to see the intrinsic value of mental wellbeing, so we’ve got involved with the government Kickstarter programme to offer work placements to those who would otherwise be unemployed.

One of the roles we’ve offered is a role of mental wellbeing ambassador. This is reinforcing the notion that we want schools to be living places where people feel that their contribution is valued and their skills are developed.

Get in touch

Our Employee Assistance Programme is a cost-effective staff wellbeing package that can transform your team's wellbeing. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch. 

"If there is an opportunity for them to get support from someone who is not their line manager it might help them to stay."
Employee Assistance Programme
Employee Assistance Programme
School leaders' support
School leaders' support