Revealed: The expert panel members tasked with improving teacher wellbeing

Union representatives, education experts and school leaders have been appointed to a 26-member expert panel tasked with improving the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.

The group, led by Paul Farmer, the chief executive of mental health charity Mind, met for the first time this week to discuss how best to ease classroom pressures.

Members on the panel include Tom Bennett, an adviser to the government on behaviour, Leora Cruddas, the chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts and Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary of the National Education Union.

Also in the group are Emma Knights, the chief executive of the National Governance Association, Sinead McBrearty, chief executive of charity Education Support Partnership and Ben Levinson, headteacher at Kensington Primary School.

The panel will gather evidence from teachers and school leaders before making recommendations to the Department for Education. The department has not yet set a date for when it will report back, but a spokesperson said it is expected to be early next year.

The advisory group was announced by Daman Hinds in March, making it the fifth group he has commissioned since he was appointed in early January 2018.

Schools minister Nick Gibb, who attended the first meeting, said the group will play a “crucial role” in providing “expert advice to help prioritise teachers’ mental health and wellbeing – setting a positive example for pupils.”

In May, the charity Education Support Partnership revealed the number of education staff calling its counselling helpline for emotional support had risen by over a quarter in the last year, reaching a record high.

A survey by teaching union NASUWT found that 85 per cent of teachers have had trouble sleeping, 77 per cent have experienced anxiety and 30 per cent have turned to medication because of their job.

The 2017-18 labour force survey found that teaching was one of three professions with the highest reports of stress and depression.


The Panel

Paul Farmer – Chief executive of Mind

Leora Cruddas – Chief executive, Confederation of School Trusts

Emma Knights – Chief executive, National Governance Association

Tom Bennett – Founder, ResearchED and director, Tom Bennett Training

Nansi Ellis – Assistant general secretary, National Education Union

Sara Ford – Deputy director of policy, Association of School and College Leaders

James Bowen – Director of policy, National Association of Head Teachers

Adam Lincoln – Bargaining and negotiations official, University and College Union

Darren Northcott – National official for education, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

Stuart Rimmer – Chief executive, East Coast College and chair, Association of Colleges mental health policy group

Bill Watkin – Chief executive, Sixth Form College Association

Faye Craster – Director of teacher development, Teach First

Hannah Tyreman – Head of online learning and community, Chartered College of Teaching

Dame Carol Black – Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge

Georgina Newton – Associate professor, University of Warwick

Dr Tim O’Brien – Visiting fellow in psychology & human development, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Peter Fonagy – Chief executive, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

Nancy Hey – Director, What Works Wellbeing Centre

Sinead McBrearty – Chief executive, Education Support Partnership

Michael Eggleton – Deputy headteacher, Charles Dickens Primary School

Jacqui Ford – Group director, Weston College

Ben Levinson – Headteacher, Kensington Primary School

Nicola McCleave – Health and wellbeing manager, Reaseheath College

Jenny Rigby – Headteacher, Meadow High School

Steve Rippin – Assistant headteacher, Tapton School

Gary Wilkie – Chief executive, Learning in Harmony Multi Academy Trust

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  1. What deals will be struck to stop the teaching union reps from raising issues of excessive hours and poor pay? Predictable inclusion of Teach First, also, but why? To tell the other experts that teacher trainees should be thrown in at the deep-end pronto? How not to retain teachers?

  2. Lil Dye

    It’s great having the experts. But where are the teachers actually doing the job?
    I’ve taught in 5 schools in 5 years and not one of them is getting it anywhere near right. How are these experts going to know when they’re not actually doing the job themselves? The reason I’ve had 5 schools in 5 years? Because I refuse to teach 5 days a week. I had no life of my own when I do. I’ve been persuaded to go 5 days at various times and got exhausted very quickly each time.