Boston-area school wins ‘education Oscar’ for staff wellbeing

An ‘innovative’ school near Boston has been honoured at the national level for the care of its staff.

Executive headteacher Nicky Donley (holding the award) and staff collecting the award on behalf of the whole school, pictured with host Richard Ayoade.
Executive headteacher Nicky Donley (holding the award) and staff collecting the award on behalf of the whole school, pictured with host Richard Ayoade.

Kirton Primary School was named School of the Year for Staff Wellbeing at this year’s Tes School Awards.

The event – dubbed ‘the Oscars of education’ – was held recently at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London, hosted by British actor, comedian, broadcaster and filmmaker Richard Ayoade.

Kirton Primary was honoured for the steps it has taken to promote staff wellbeing, particularly during Covid-19.

Measures receiving praise included: cutting down on unnecessary meetings; offering an additional week of holiday in the October half-term to enable staff to access cheaper travel; committing to the Department for Education Staff Wellbeing Charter; providing a wellbeing programme via two trained champions who are also working on a new mental health policy; carrying out a confidential audit of morale; and having staff wellbeing as a regular item on the governors’ agenda.

A spokesman for the awards described the measures as ‘proactive’ and ‘sustainable’.

Other steps have included: having working parties lead subject areas (rather than giving the responsibility to a sole member of staff), supporting internal promotion, and having free tea and coffee.

Judge, Dame Joan McVittie, said: “The school has been so innovative, they just seem to have covered every single base and the impact can be seen in low absence rates.”

Speaking of the significance of the award, executive headteacher, Nicky Donley, said: “It means a lot to the staff because this was a particularly tough period for all schools. However, our staff pulled together incredibly well.

"When it came to our ‘Covid Recovery Programme’, which involved running additional catch-up programmes before and after school, such was the feeling of wellbeing that almost every member of staff gave up their time to do this – benefitting over 200 children. It’s just a great place to work.”

This year’s event was the first held in-person since the start of the pandemic.

Kirton Primary School was the only setting in Lincolnshire to be shortlisted for the final.

It was one of eight establishments to be named in its category, with the others coming from Manchester, Greater Manchester, Leicester, Nottinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, and Devon.Speaking ahead of the event, Tes editor and chairman of judges, Jon Severs, said: “This year has seen an incredibly high standard of entries to the Tes Schools Awards. Every teacher and school who has been nominated should be incredibly proud – it’s a fantastic achievement.”

“Teachers, leaders and support staff have all played an enormous role as schools have battled with immense challenges over the past few years. This is our chance to say thank you for all that they do," he added.

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