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IOE academic appointed to government panel on teachers’ mental health

9 July 2019

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Visiting Fellow Dr Tim O’Brien has been appointed to a government panel to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.

Science Teacher and Pupil, Kirsten Holst © University College London

The panel has 26 members across schools, colleges and mental health and wellbeing organisations including headteachers, academics, union representatives and mental health experts.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced the plans for the panel earlier this year. The group, led by Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, recently met for the first time to talk about how classroom pressures can be eased.

The panel will gather evidence from teachers and school leaders before making recommendations to the Department for Education (DfE).

Dr O’Brien is an Honorary Senior Lecturer and Visiting Fellow in Psychology and Human Development at the IOE. He recently conducted a signposting research study for Education Support Partnership into staff wellbeing in Higher Education. His main areas of research are:

  • Domains and dimensions of wellbeing in multiple contexts, such as children and young people, teachers in all settings and staff in Higher Education; 
  • Provision for children and young people who experience social, emotional and mental health needs.

Dr O'Brien said: "I am pleased to have been invited to be a member of the DfE Expert Advisory Group on Teacher Wellbeing and to represent UCL Institute of Education in doing so. Currently, there are complex interacting factors that are having a negative and worrying impact on teacher wellbeing. These need to be confronted and understood - especially where they have become normalised - and action taken."

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  • Kirsten Holst, UCL