How to create a staff mental health and wellbeing action plan

Know what good staff mental health and wellbeing looks like and get advice on achieving it. Learn ways to check in on your staff as a first step towards creating a staff mental health and wellbeing action plan, and use our template to help you put together a plan that meets the needs of your setting.

Last reviewed on 10 October 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
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  1. Find out how staff are doing at the moment
  2. Feed your findings into your action plan
  3. Download our template action plan
  4. Make sure you follow through
  5. Further resources

Find out how staff are doing at the moment

Send out a wellbeing questionnaire 

This will help you get a sense of what’s working well, and what you need to put in place.

Your wellbeing questionnaire should cover areas such as whether staff: 

  • Feel stressed at work  
  • Feel adequately supported at work 
  • Are happy with their work-life balance
  • Have trouble sleeping 
  • Have a reasonable amount of energy
  • Feel equipped to manage their workload 
  • Are worried about issues beyond school, for example bills

As well as open questions so staff can put forward suggestions, use a scale of 1 to 5 so that you can quantify the data. This suggestion, as well as some of the question areas above, are included in the Education Support Partnership’s guide to looking after teacher wellbeing

You can also use the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale for free by registering here

Make sure that you share the survey with your SLT, as well as filling it out yourself. This will help you get a full picture of the wellbeing challenges facing all staff. 

Set up a wellbeing and workload working group

Hardenhuish School in Wiltshire started a staff working group to improve the wellbeing of all staff across the school, with a particular focus on workload. In a nutshell, group members: 

  • Meet up once a term to have open conversations about wellbeing and workload
  • Identify challenges from across the school 
  • Come up with effective solutions based on best practice

A member of the senior leadership team (SLT) runs the group – meeting outcomes are discussed at senior leadership level and the next steps are then communicated at the next working group meeting. 

Feed your findings into your action plan

Prioritise next steps (for example by importance and achievability) identified through your wellbeing questionnaires/working group.

This will help you focus your wellbeing action plan on where support is actually needed, and make sure you're not wasting time or money.

Areas of focus will of course vary depending on each school, but may typically include:

Teacher workload

Use the teachers' standards to help decide what your school’s expectations for teachers should be. Discuss what teachers should reasonably be expected to do beyond their timetabled hours or directed time. 

This will help you evaluate whether your school’s existing systems and processes are reasonable. For example, if the frequency of assessments in your current internal assessment system is causing an unreasonable amount of work, you may decide to change it.  

Take a look at our case studies of how schools have cut down on marking workload and internal meetings to reduce the burden on their staff.


Consider whether your current communication policies and procedures are adding to staff stress and workload. 

Needs will vary by school, and so will solutions. For example, staff may benefit from:

  • Fewer emails, as a constantly full inbox is overwhelming, or
  • Sending information in emails instead of attending some meetings, to save time

Also consider communication with parents. A policy of not responding to questions in the evenings or an out-of-hours setting on staff emails may help improve work-life balance. 

Planning and resources 

If teachers are creating lesson plans from scratch, consider ways to share plans and other resources between staff, or whether you can buy into schemes of work.

Also think about your planning expectations, and whether these could be adapted – for example, not requiring detailed short term plans for each lesson.

Additional roles and responsibilities 

These can also impact on a staff member’s wellbeing. For example, staff with responsibility for managing safeguarding may benefit from the support of a professional supervisor or regular meetings where they can discuss particular challenges.

Download our template action plan

It includes a couple of example objectives and actions, but make sure that your own plan is based on the needs of your staff.

Consider cost-effective solutions

Wellbeing and mental health solutions don't have to be a drain on the budget. An effective action plan can actually save your school money by helping you to reduce associated staff absence and recruitment costs. 

Depending on your needs, low-budget actions may include:

  • Peer mentoring, to help create a supportive culture
  • Reviewing your school policies with a wellbeing focus, to make sure that your procedures aren't causing undue stress
  • Signposting staff to professional support that your school can't provide
  • Offering flexible working opportunities

You could also encourage staff to set up groups for specific issues that only affect certain groups of staff. This might involve people of colour, parents, or staff members experiencing menopause, for example. Given the specific and often sensitive nature of these issues, your SLT may wish to simply support these efforts rather than directly arrange them. For example, allow time and a space to meet. 

Use individual wellness action plans

As well as a whole-school approach to improving mental health and wellbeing, you can also help your staff manage their wellness at work by giving them their own wellbeing action plan. See our guide on how to use individual action plans for more support.

You can also download Mind’s wellness action plans for employees by registering for free.

Make sure you follow through

Share your action plan with staff, and commit to making the changes you have set out.

If you can't do something in your plan or it didn't produce the results you wanted, be honest about why this is, and what you will do instead. This will result in greater trust from staff than empty claims that you value wellbeing.

Further resources

Use these resources to help develop a targeted and cost-effective wellbeing action plan.

Take a look at our articles on:

Education support is a charity focused on the wellbeing of teachers and education staff. They have a dedicated helpline and resources to support your staff, including:

You may also find the following resources useful


Dr Emma Kell is an experienced school leader and AP teacher. She is also a school governor, and provides coaching for new teachers, and existing and aspiring school leaders.

Trevor Bailey has extensive experience in school leadership and management. He was a secondary school headteacher for 14 years.

Lorraine Petersen is an education consultant. She was previously the chief executive officer of Nasen (which promotes the education of young people with special educational needs), and a primary school headteacher. She is also a governor at a special school in the West Midlands.

Tony Cook is an independent learning and development consultant. He has experience of teacher recruitment, developing training programmes and providing HR services to schools.

Carolyn Unsted is an adviser to the regional schools commissioner for south-east England and south London. She has been the headteacher at two secondary schools, led rapid educational improvement projects in two local authorities and has over 30 years of experience working in education.

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