1st Edition

What Makes Teachers Unhappy, and What Can You Do About It? Building a Culture of Staff Wellbeing

By Mark Solomons, Fran Abrams Copyright 2024
    260 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Many teachers, support staff and school leaders are tired, stressed and overstretched. And even though this frequently makes the headlines, it isn’t a new problem. In this book, Mark Solomons and Fran Abrams argue staff wellbeing should be rooted in the culture and climate of our schools. They provide a roadmap to recovery for struggling schools which should lead to improvements in staff morale, workload management and mental wellbeing.

    With a range of real-life examples, this book focuses on how school leaders can build workplace wellbeing in even the most challenging environments. It includes clear links to research evidence and summaries of the key steps necessary to deal with common issues such as:

    • Identifying and mapping issues in your school
    • Leading for wellbeing
    • Creating and maintaining a happy workforce
    • Developing a culture of everyday wellbeing
    • Overseeing change

    Written in an entertaining yet informative manner, this is the go-to guide for school leaders who want to support staff by building a more positive and supportive workplace.

    1. Introduction;  Section 1. Mapping the Issues;  2. Knowing your numbers;  3. Having a clear plan;  4. Where to take action; Section 2. Leading for Wellbeing;  5. Being the change;  6. Becoming a competent leader;  Section 3. Getting and Keeping a Happy Workforce;  7. Teacher retention and recruitment;  8. Making staff feel valued;  9. Managing workload;  10. Looking after your support staff;  11. Don’t forget the senior leadership team;  Section 4. School Culture;  12. Culture, Cake and Yoga;  13. Wellbeing and your students; Section 5. Overseeing Change;  14. The role of governors and trustees;  15. Bringing the outside in; Section 6. Rethinking Education for Wellbeing;  16. Rewriting the book;  17. Getting physical;  18. The policy picture;  19. The digested read


    Mark Solomons, former Sainsbury’s Bank operating board member, has more than 12 years’ experience developing leadership and culture in education. A school governor and trustee for more than 20 years, he founded Welbee, a multi-award winning edtech start-up supporting schools to measure and systematically improve staff wellbeing. This is his second book.

    Fran Abrams is a journalist and author with more than 30 years’ experience of reporting on education. She has worked for all the national broadsheet newspaper groups and for 15 years was a reporter on BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme. She is a trustee of the Education Media Centre and has written six previous books.

    'This is a powerful, thoughtful book that goes beyond treating symptoms, towards looking at the root causes of poor wellbeing. We are shown that leaders who build teams that are trusted offer teachers high levels of agency, enabling workload to be viewed as meaningful and purposeful. Strategies are offered that are aimed at supporting leaders to develop a culture of collective endeavour. This is a compelling resource for leaders everywhere - highly recommended for practical audit resources alongside case studies that offer evidence about what truly makes a difference.'

    Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching


    'The book thoughtfully examines how leaders can create an engaging and vibrant school climate and culture, building an environment where teachers and all staff thrive. The research is clear, where staff report a positive climate, this underpins a virtuous cycle, impacting student learning, relationships and a sense of belonging. While much of the policy and frameworks referenced are from the UK, the practical strategies and steps are equally applicable in the US. This is a timely and must have resource for district leaders, principals, and those aspiring to these roles.'

    Dr Clayton M. Wilcox, Vice President and Ambassador for Community Relations, the Compass Group, CEO and founder of Thoughts2Lead, and former superintendent.