More than half (57%) said they're concerned about the mental health of their headteacher or CEO, and seven in ten (71%) said they're concerned about the mental health of school staff, including support staff.
Many governors and trustees also said they're tracking workload and wellbeing, and the findings revealed that such monitoring has increased in the pandemic period. Eight in 10 (81%) of those surveyed said that their board is tracking the workload and related mental health of the headteacher or CEO, while 86% said their board is tracking the workload and related mental health of all school staff. More than half (58%) of respondents reported that their board has increased its tracking of these issues for headteachers and CEOs since pre-pandemic days, and a similar proportion (60%) has increased such tracking of staff welfare.
While boards are clearly worried about the workload and wellbeing of the most senior leaders in their schools, only 12% of those surveyed do not expect their headteacher or CEO to still be in post in two years’ time. And only one-quarter (26%) said their board has a succession plan in place for these roles - suggesting that this topic is not a regular feature in board discussions currently.
“Governors and trustees have had to walk a fine line between fulfilling their role of holding leaders to account and making sure that they themselves don’t add to the high levels of stress and workload,” said GovernorHub founder Neil Collins. “Add to that the challenges of staff shortages and learning gaps due to the pandemic, and you can see why our governance volunteers have had to handle their role extra sensitively to support leaders facing so many disruptions beyond their control.”
Some respondents also said that workload and stress for governing boards is an issue, with one commenting “Governance has become more challenging than ever - workload and accountability have increased and boards generally need far more support and training. It may be too much to ask of volunteers; although it is still extremely rewarding.”