From education to employment

Health and Safety Executive launches tool to tackle stress in schools

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Go Home Healthy campaign has launched a new tool aimed at helping schools to prevent work-related stress.

The Talking Toolkit is a downloadable free resource, which gives school leaders templates for simple, practical conversations about work issues which can be causes of stress, if they are not managed properly.

Rob McGreal, lead work-related stress policy advisor at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said:

“Simply starting the conversation around stress and mental health  is the key step for any school, and our new Talking Toolkit helps school leaders and line managers to do exactly that.”

The toolkit has six templates for six different conversations to be held between school leaders, line managers and staff. Each conversation is shaped around an area which, if not properly managed, is associated with poor health, lower productivity and increased sickness absence.

The toolkit also includes ideas and resources for the prevention of work-related stress in schools.

Rob continued: “All employers, including schools, have a legal duty to assess the risk of work-related stress and to bring in appropriate measures to mitigate those risks.

“The Talking Toolkit can be just one step on a schools’ journey towards bringing in measures to tackle work-related stress. The information such conversations will provide will help with the risk assessment requirement and there will be plenty of really good things being done within the school that can then be applied across other parts of it. 

“There is no strict format for how line managers should have these conversations. The important thing is to engage with staff to find out what causes their stress and to get them involved in coming up with solutions.”

In the last 12 months over 500,000 working days were lost in secondary schools due to stress, depression or anxiety, caused, or made worse, by work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched the Go Home Healthy campaign last year as part of its health and work programme. The campaign is aimed at encouraging employers to take health risks as seriously as safety ones, and one of its three priorities is the prevention of work-related stress.


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. 

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