Practising mindfulness in schools can be beneficial for students and staff, as a way of developing attention, communication and empathy skills, improving self-regulation and resilience, and enhancing decision-making.
For schools interested in mindfulness, the recommended first step is to explore offering mindfulness training for teachers and other staff, before considering how to teach mindfulness skills to students.
We offer presentations, taster sessions, workshops and courses for teachers and other school staff who would like to explore this for themselves. Please contact us for a discussion if you are interested in bringing mindfulness to your school...
Research shows that mindfulness reduces stress, burnout and anxiety among teachers, improves their coping skills and problem-solving, and leads to better mental and physical health, as well as improved self-confidence, focus and decision-making. Studies have also found that mindfulness training enhances teachers' job performance, leading to better classroom management, more attunement to students' needs and greater capacity to achieve supportive relationships. In 2014, the All-Parliamentary Group on Well-Being Economics made mindfulness training for teachers and doctors one of its four main policy recommendations, concluding that this "would embed a culture of well-being in health and education." In 2015, The Mindful Nation report from the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group offered a report on and recommendations for mindfulness training in schools, and as co-director of the Mindfulness Initiative, Ed Halliwell from Mindfulness Sussex was one of the editors of this report. The Mindfulness Initiative has recently updated the recommendations from this report with its Strategy for Mindfulness in Education, published in 2020.
Ed has also worked with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre to help deliver the Mindfulness and Resilience in Adolsecence (MYRIAD) project, a large-scale trial of mindfulness in schools funded by the Wellcome Trust. As part of this collaboration Ed delivered a new adaptation of the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course to school staff, and this showed significant benefits for staff well-being. The course is called MBCT-For Life and we can also offer this course, as well as the briefer Finding Peace In A Frantic World course (MBCT-FP), to teachers in other schools we work with.
"Ed has led a bespoke mindfulness course at Ardingly College for interested teachers and support staff for each of the last five years. We see the process as a way of nurturing our staff who are interested in exploring, understanding and practising mindfulness. The sessions have been very well received by staff, and it is fantastic to have Ed working with both sides of the college together, in an atmosphere of respectful inquiry and reflection. We look forward to more courses with Ed in the years ahead." Jamie Large, Deputy Head Academic, Ardingly College
"It (the eight-week mindfulness course) was a journey into the unknown for us - and one very worthwhile in completing. During an unparalleled time of change, uncertainty and risk, it has provided, at the very least, a weekly grounding, but for many, including myself, I believe it has made us more personally enlightened and planted seeds of habitual thinking and practice that will continue to influence us as we move forward with our lives. This is powerful stuff – expertly delivered – thank you!" Lloyd Murphy, Headteacher, Wray Common School, Reigate
“The Mindfulness course has been a wonderful gift to us as a teaching staff. It has given us the tools to make us more resilient and cope with the challenges that we face in a more productive way. We were already a very strong, supportive team, but the training has reinforced this. The good quality handouts, audios and emails really helped to keep us on track, and Ed was able to respond to each person in a way that was not only relevant and enlightening for the individual, but for all the other participants too. Excellent, in every respect.” Gill Pedersen, Head Teacher, Handcross Primary School
“I was a little nervous about how the morning would go as one always wonders how it will be received. I have been inundated with e mails from staff who are really grateful for the opportunity for an inset which goes further than the normal and focuses on them. A huge thank you therefore for such a great morning.” Emma Trelawny-Vernon, Registrar and HR Manager, St Ronan’s School, Kent
“Ed Halliwell gave an excellent introduction to mindfulness to staff at Dulwich Prep London. A combination of academic research and guided practice provided compelling arguments for its place in the school community. Over 40 staff who attended (out of around 140) have since expressed their interest in attending an eight-week mindfulness course at the school – which speaks for itself.” Ed Matten, Head of Classics, Dulwich Prep London