STRESSED-OUT teachers at the Deanes School will be offered the services of a personal trainer to improve morale after a turbulent year.

Staff at the Thundersley school are also being offered a stress-busting course and it will enforce a no work email policy across weekends.

Assistant headteacher Desi McKeown is leading the charge by setting up the wellbeing programme “iMatter” for staff.

He said: “A couple of years ago, I did my MBA on educational leadership and researched the effect of staff wellbeing on student outcomes.

“A quote from Richard Branson really stuck with me: ‘The ultimate aim of a business is to have happy shareholders, for that you need happy customers and you can’t have happy customers without having happy staff’.

“We’ve been through a lot of stress over the last year and staff went to their families to deal with it in their own way. But the duty of care lies with the school.

We are going to really invest in staff welfare.”

Essex County Council announced it would close the school, in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, last year but following campaigns, protests, and public meetings a Government school adjudicator overturned that decision.

The school is nowoffering staff the services of a personal trainer at the school gym and badminton, tennis, dance, book and comedy clubs.

It is also offering a course called “rebalance” to help staff deal with stress as well as enforcing a no work email policy from 6pm on Fridays to 6pm on Sundays.

Mr McKeown said: “People have five spare minutes on a Saturday and check their emails and can end up angry with what they find. It’s no way to live your life. It means now staff are not checking their emails they come in refreshed on a Monday.

“I introduced the programme, saying we’ve had the iPod, then the iPhone then came the iPad and nowcomes the revolutionary iMatter, because you do matter.

It’s not just about the pupils we are investing heavily in staff.”

The programme is being partfunded from the staff’s training budget.

The majority of the activities are free, but the school is applying to an external body for permanent funding to carry on the work next year.


THE Deanes School will be a dedicated centre for teacher training from September.

The school will welcome 20 trainee teachers a year.

Headteacher Jan Atkinson said: “The old nursery will now be a dedicated teaching unit for the south. We will run initial teacher training. People used to train at university, but the view now is school-based teacher training has very positive results on outcomes and quality.

“Trainees will spend four days absolutely immersed in the classroom at a placement school and one day doing the theory at the Deanes.”

Deanes still has places available for this year and will begin to recruit trainees for September 2015 from July.

Mrs Atkinson said: “It will be really good for the school. We’ve got a history of teacher training anyway and that’s always been my background before I came here.

“When there was an opportunity for us to host it here we wanted to get involved. We are really looking forward to it.

“We are also offering a school experience programme. If anybody is not sure about teacher training, we want them to get a feel for it. They can get experience and shadow lessons.”

A 2(i) or first degree is preferred, but candidates will be assessed on an individual basis.

To applyvisit or All applications are processed through the Ucas Apply for Teacher Training portal