Mindfulness in Action

Title of innovation provision: Mindfulness for Education Leaders

Date of innovation provision: Innovation Pathway August 2019

Elizabeth Williams – learningmindfully@gmail.com

The National Academy for Educational Leadership enthusiastically supported our development of a bespoke mindfulness course, Mindfulness for Education Leaders through the Innovation Pathway.  The course introduces the foundations of mindfulness and is supported by neuroscientific knowledge with clear links to leadership development skills.

We heard about the Innovation Pathway on social media in a post reminding people that only two weeks remained until the closing date for the 2019 applications. This resulted in a race against time to ensure that we were involved. Completing the application was thought provoking – and time consuming – but enabled us to evaluate and define what we wanted to do. The application process itself was straightforward; the Leadership Academy scrutiny was rigorous, but the team were helpful and very supportive throughout.

The Innovation Pathway funding enabled us to bring the Mindfulness for Education Leaders team together to maximise our diverse experience and expertise to create a high quality and relevant programme supported by high quality materials. The grant also meant that we were able to have all materials translated into Welsh and had the capacity to evaluate the programme’s overall impact. To date 69 participants have benefited from the programme; 47 in the pilot phase and a further 12 in subsequent cohorts.

We are applying for endorsement with the Leadership Academy in the current round and hope we will secure that recognition by May 2021. We feel the recognition of endorsement provides us with a ‘quality mark’ which we believe is justified by the quality of the provision we have developed and the quality of the team we have brought together to deliver the programme. Endorsement denotes a level of quality assurance for potential participants, in particular for provision which is innovative.

“In these strange and very difficult times, it is an easier option to NOT to engage and complete this kind of programme because it is difficult to allow yourself that perceived time to be ‘selfish’ to do something just for you and your mental health when so many other things depend on you. However, the ‘put an oxygen mask on yourself first’ statement has never been truer if leaders are to survive this without imploding. So many other actions and anxieties of other people are placed on our shoulders and we need and deserve this valuable self-care toolkit.” – North Wales Primary school headteacher

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