Lewis school has a gold standard for healthy working lives

School staff receive the gold award. Photograph: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

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Staff at Sgoil a’ Bhac in Lewis received a gold award following an assessment under the Healthy Working Lives programme.

The programme is delivered by NHS Health Scotland, a national NHS board in collaboration with Scotland’s 14 local NHS boards.

By achieving the award, workplaces must have healthier, more motivated and productive staff; reduce absences and support employees at all stages; reduce accidents and work-related ill health; enhance their reputation; and contribute to the health of the wider community.

Staff at the school began their Health Working Lives journey in 2011 and, despite a number of changes to senior management, it has remained a priority.

In the years since 2011, staff have worked through and have been successful in obtaining and then maintaining awards at bronze, silver and silver plus. In the 2018-19 session they actively worked towards gold and achieved it following an assessment in December 2019.

School staff have been able to participate in activities such as yoga and rowing, and a number of campaigns have highlighted cancer, diabetes and World Down’s Syndrome.

In addition, work has been done to focus on healthy eating, promote alcohol awareness and taking action to reduce accidents, incidents and sickness.

Head teacher Kirsteen J Maclean thanked their HWL adviser Norma Macleod for encouraging the team to work towards the goal.

She said: ‘We were aware that no other school in the local authority held this award but did not know, until we achieved the award, that only one other workplace in the Western Isles, apart from the NHS themselves had achieved this standard.

‘Mental health continues to be a priority for us going forward and we will continue to ensure opportunities are focused on the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils and our employees and that a good work-life balance is achieved. The next challenge for us is to maintain this award annually and to ensure that the work of Healthy Working Lives in Sgoil a’ Bhac goes from strength to strength.’

NHS assessor Jenny Hill said: ‘As recipients of the gold award the staff have demonstrated a clear commitment to promoting and developing Healthy Working Lives as an integral part of Sgoil a’ Bhac.

‘This has been further evidenced by their written health, safety and wellbeing strategy that addresses all aspects of Healthy Working Lives.’