School of Education

Still surviving, rather than thriving - the need to reimagine post-pandemic wellbeing according to secondary school teachers

This new article published in Pastoral Care in Education comes from Dr Ed Sellman, Professor Stephen Joseph and doctoral student, Rosanna Wilson. All colleagues are members of the Centre for Research in Human Flourishing.


In Spring Term 2021 following the second school closure and third lockdown in England, educational recovery and catch-up were key concerns for secondary schools. Following teacher interviews regarding wellbeing in secondary school teaching practice in Winter 2020–21, teachers from 10 schools (n = 18) took part in focus groups and interviews to explore their understandings of practice for wellbeing in the classroom, and how the circumstances of the school return were impacting these understandings and experiences, mid-pandemic. Teachers reported their perspectives for reflexive thematic analysis. As with other reports of school recovery post-disaster, re-establishing the safety of normality and routine was considered key. Yet promises of a ‘new normal’ sensitive to the already concerning landscape of youth wellbeing and mental health in the UK were soon re-prioritised as a focus on ‘catch up’ and re-establishing performance goals within-subject disciplines. Accounts of challenging student behaviour and teacher stress were elevated but met with a response that focused on the role of teacher as purveyor of subject knowledge rather than care-givers. The duty of schools in providing trauma-informed cultures was also under-recognized, though relevant to the needs articulated by teachers in this study.

Visit the publisher's website to access the full article.

Posted on Friday 8th September 2023

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