Teaching heroes praised in charity’s Christmas appeal

The Youth Sport Trust is aiming to raise £25,000 to support teachers’ wellbeing this week.

A children’s charity is urging the public to get behind its first ever Christmas appeal to support frontline school staff who are on the ‘brink of reaching crisis point’ after working tirelessly over the last nine months to ensure young people have a safe place to learn and grow. 

Recent research from Bupa Foundation revealed nearly half of teachers found the past half-term the most stressful time they have known, with just 4% saying that they were able to prioritise their wellbeing daily over the past few months. 

The findings echo what schools have told the Youth Sport Trust through its work enabling young people to access the life changing benefits of daily physical activity, play and sport in the lead up to Christmas. It is why the Youth Sport Trust has this year become one of 763 charities around the UK taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge annual match funding campaign between 1 and 8 December.  

This week it is appealing for donations from anyone who has been supported by frontline school staff to improve the health and wellbeing of more than 500 teachers - who in turn could have a positive impact on up to 15,000 young people.  

Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: 

School staff have shown amazing versatility in planning for both home learning and classroom teaching with workload levels at an unprecedented high, but it is clear from speaking to school leaders through our work as a charity that they are at the brink of crisis point. 

They are suffering more than ever before. We need school staff to be healthy and well if they are to do their very best for their students. The time has come for us to show them just how much they are valued. Please support us this week and give what you can to help us support their ongoing wellbeing. 

Teaching heroes have cared for children across the country and now, they will be supported themselves through a movement called Well Schools. Sean Doyle is a PE teacher and team leader at Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes. This year has tested his team’s resilience, determination and optimism to the limit.  He said:

My staff are all mentally exhausted by the end of the day. The COVID guidance that they have to follow, the intensity of our adapted timetable and the limited opportunity for breaks is unrelenting and is just not sustainable long term. We are doing all we can to keep morale up, grabbing five minutes to say thanks for the hard work, sharing a resource on the hop, and getting out and lending an extra pair of hands for 10 minutes if we are free.

Sean is among thousands of teachers and support staff across the country who have enabled other keyworkers to go to work safe in the knowledge that their children are looked after in the school environment. 

Dame Katherine Grainger, chair of UK Sport, said:

2020 has been a really tough year for everybody. Teachers have been on the frontline from the start, making sure our children have a safe place to learn and grow. They continue to work tirelessly every day, but their wellbeing is really suffering. They can only support our children if they are healthy and well. The time has come for us to act now to show our support for our frontline teachers and school staff. Donate now to the Youth Sport Trust’s Teacher Wellbeing campaign and your donation will be doubled. Thank you.

In order to access the £12,500 in the matching pot, the Youth Sport Trust needs to raise £12,500 in online donations. Funding will be matched by Monday Charitable Trust and Sky Sports during the campaign meaning any money donated can support twice as many teachers and young people. 

How to support the Youth Sport Trust’s Big Give Christmas Challenge? 

Visit the BigGive.org.uk and make a donation from 12pm (midday) on #GivingTuesday (1st December). The campaign will close at 12pm on Tuesday 8th December. To find out more about the YST’s involvement in the campaign click here