#Teachwellfest – guest post


#Teachwellfest – guest post

1 Jul ’18 Teaching 0

A few months ago Vic Goddard connected me with Georgia Holleran who had decided to host an event that focused purely on staff well-being. After our first telephone call it was clear that this was someone that was going to make this happen, come wind, rain or shine. Georgia shared here plans and I shared my experiences of co-organising Southern Rocks 2018. Somewhere along that line, Freya Still, our seven year old daughter got involved.

Freya plans to be a teacher (can you tell), so the importance of looking after teachers is something she was conscious of. It tied in neatly with reading  ‎R.J. Palacio’s ‘Wonder’ (lots of social responsibility in there) and she wanted to promoted ‘Why Teachers Matter.’ Freya spent Sunday morning storyboarding, scripting and starring in a social media ad to help promote the event and from that moment on she was invested. Over the coming weeks Freya offered a handful of shorter, countdown updates and Georgia very kindly asked if she would like to be involved ‘somehow.’ Boldly and naively, Freya offered to ‘open’ the event and Georgia asked if she might consider writing a review… here it is.



Saturday started early. A quick Cookie Crisp breakfast and Daddy threw together a packed lunch and we headed for the motorway pausing for a quick Twitter “We are on our way,” update.

We arrived early at the impressive Passmores Academy, Harlow. Clear blue skies and warm sunshine on our backs, to be greeted by the energetic Georgia Holleran, the welcome community and the setting up crew. We prepped and practiced my opening address before mic-ing-up for the grand opening.

Delegates trickled into the main auditorium for the opening sessions from Vic Goddard (Headteacher Passmores Academy), Dr Emma Kell (teacher and Author) and Julian Stanley (CEO – Education School Partnership.) I took a depth breath and…


Good morning everybody and welcome to Passmore Academy and the very first TeachWellFest.

I am sure you would like to join me in recognising the dedication of Georgia Holleran, and involvement of guest speakers, workshop leads and the backing of the Education Support Partnership…

in a VERY massive round of applause.

[PAUSE and let the audience clap]

Let me take this opportunity to tell you about Miss Cook.

Miss Cook is the full package.

She is kind… generous… and she is ALWAYS encouraging us.  Lessons are fun, it is fun everyday.

Miss Cook is why I want to be a teacher. She is what you grown-ups call my, “inspiration.” But Daddy had to explain just what inspiration meant. [Always the teacher]

Next year, my teacher is Mr Hill… and he has an awful lot to live up too.

I am here today, to ask you all to look after Miss Cook and teachers just like her,

to look after the teaching profession,

and to look after yourselves.

Have a wonderful and “inspiring” teachwellfest.

PS If I ask to interview you later today,  your response should be “of course you can.” This is a pretty big gig for me.

Time for the professionals

First on was Vic Goddard. Daddy said he is pretty big on the education scene. He was a pretty big Headteacher, he mentioned that in his talk too… Now, I am only 7, but even I understood what these grown speakers were trying to tell us.

Vic Goddard told the teachers that “he doesn’t always listen to his own advice however you have to know, how and when, you are ‘at your best.’ Basically, work when you are most efficient. He encouraged teachers to apply the Pareto Principle (20:80). Now I don’t know what that means, but you can find out I am sure. Do what I would do… Youtube it.

He talked about his family, his family at home and his family at school. He talked about pulling together. I would like to work for a Headteacher like Vic.

Dr Emma Kell, having just finished her first book, is now onto her second “How to thrive at Secondary School: A guide for students and parents (this is an exclusive). Emma had four key messages, reminding us to “control the things we can.”

  • Be aware of how long we work – it is okay to defer a task or say no.
  • The day to day, small things matter.
  • You can change the school you work at. There are good, caring schools out there.
  • How we treat new teachers – we have a responsibility to support them.


Julian Stanley CEO Education School Partnership highlighted the importance of ‘early help’ for the profession and not waiting for the point that teachers feel overloaded.


Phone before the crisis hits.

He finished with lots and lots of information about all the free services, resources for the staff room and schools ESP offers. That bit was a little too fast for me. They clearly do a lot!

Last word

Lastly, I spoke with festival organiser Georgina Holleran.

The aim was to start something. A festival for teachers*, for teachers that are looking after their teachers.

Now Georgia added the asterix because teachers, means everyone working schools and she wanted you all to know that. #Teachwellfest is needed because…

There are a number of people that struggle silently in the background. #Teachwellfest has brought teachers and supporter of wellness together today, so that doesn’t need to be the case going forward.

Sessions ran throughout the day, there was Amjad Ali and Anoara Mughal representing The Chartered College and #Womened, coaching with Viv Grant and Sarah Dodsley, practical tips from teachers and school leaders, Andrew Cowley, Patrick Ottley-O’Connor, Sam Collins, Victoria Hewett, ballroom dancing and aerial fitness too. All round a great day.

We have lift-off. Thank you for inviting me and lovely to meet you Indigo.


This post is dedicated to Victoria Hewett @MrsHumanities – sharing her journey in support of other teachers.


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