School’s PE lessons for primary staff win award

20th January 2023

A South Tyneside primary school has won an award for improving the physical and mental health of the staff. St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, has been awarded the Better Health at Work Bronze Award.

Better Health At Work Award

The Better Health at Work Award (BHAWA) recognises the efforts of employers in the North East and Cumbria in addressing health issues within the workplace. 

Teacher Maureen McMillin, who is the BHAWA lead at the Jarrow primary school, started the process to “improve the lives of all of our staff” for a happier, healthier team.

From exercising with Joe Wicks via his Body Coach app to enjoying Fruity Friday, the staff members have participated in a range of activities over the last year aimed at improving their physical health and wellbeing. Other areas of focus included women’s health, work-life balance, managing stress, cancer awareness and advice on quitting smoking.

Mrs McMillin said:

“Taking part in the Better Health at Work Award has been a great opportunity to reflect on how we support and take care of each other. We have initiated many new events, such as Fruity Friday and book swaps, while signposting staff to colleagues for specific support. This support has come through staff at St Joseph’s, as well as colleagues within our Trust. We now look forward to applying for and completing the silver award, with the added bonus of even better health for our community.”

Kindness Matters

Head Teacher Paul Craig added :

“As a school community, we try to make sure we take care of each other. This includes our wonderful staff. It is fantastic that we have achieved the bronze award, which recognises the value we put on our colleagues. We are now extending this as the first ‘Kindness Matters’ school in South Tyneside. ‘Kindness Matters’ promotes an even more positive approach to life, both in school and at home. Our children and community are encouraged to reflect on how they have been kind, and how we can improve our ‘kindness’ in all aspects of our day.”

Paul continued:

“Our 30-day Kindness Challenge will culminate in a ‘Kindness Matters’ week, including visits from John Magee, the UK Kindness Ambassador for Schools, and Rock Kidz, who will lead a programme around positive self-worth.”

Chris Zarraga, Director of Schools North East commented:

“Well done to St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School for creating a positive and supportive environment for their staff that prioritises staff health. In the UK, there is a rising recruitment and retention crisis in schools with too many experienced staff leaving the profession. This is predominantly driven by workload and the additional pressures of perennial issues massively exacerbated by the pandemic. 

Whilst it is heartwarming to see examples like this one at St. Joseph’s, it must be said, however, that systemic changes by the Secretary of State are needed to properly value and protect our amazing school staff. The school system needs to be urgently de-pressurised before the rising crisis becomes a catastrophe.”

St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School is a Schools North East Partner School. If you’d like to find out more about our Partner School Programme click here.

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