East Sussex College has signed the Department for Education’s new Staff Wellbeing Charter as part of its emerging people strategy and wider commitment to staff wellbeing.

The college has announced its support for the charter during National Mental Health Awareness Week (10-14 May), as a shared commitment to protect, promote and enhance the wellbeing of its staff.

The Staff Wellbeing Charter was created by the education sector to highlight wellbeing. It includes 12 commitments on education staff wellbeing by DfE, and Ofsted sets out five principles of shared understanding on the meaning and importance of wellbeing.

“We have signed this new charter as it sends a clear message to our colleagues that their wellbeing and mental health matters,” says Rebecca Conroy, ESC Principal & CEO. “The Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on all of our staff, so we welcome this initiative to improve staff wellbeing. It comes at an appropriate time as lockdown restrictions are lifted further and we adjust back into college life. Many of our staff continue to work from home to keep numbers on our campuses down. We are working to support flexible working arrangements for these members of staff as things are different now. We know there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to this; some find blended working benefits them, while others want to be back on site. It’s all about having an open conversation with staff to support their wellbeing.”

The Charter sets out to break down the stigma surrounding Mental Health and champion flexible working and diversity. It will also enable the college to continually improve the access to wellbeing resources for staff, with a further commitment to embed mental health and wellbeing in staff training and professional development.

By signing the charter, ESC commits to developing a long-term strategy to prioritise staff mental health.