What to include in a school stress management policy

HR Team

August 18 2019
Work-related stress can be a real challenge in education, given the pace of change in the sector and seemingly ever-growing employee workloads.

Stress can worsen productivity and therefore impact teaching standards. Significantly, it can also be infectious and contribute towards lower employee morale and engagement. Given the ongoing recruitment and retention challenges across the sector, a stressed and unhappy workforce is exactly what you don’t need.

With this in mind, having a Stress Management Policy can help prevent, eliminate and reduce work-related stress, so we’ve outlined the different sections your policy statement should include.

1. What to outline in the introduction

The introduction of your policy statement should send a strong message to employees - that you take the wellbeing of your employees seriously and recognise that the prevention and effective management of work-related stress is crucial.

Specific commitments should be outlined, such as providing training and support to help managers and employees understand and recognise the nature, causes and management of work-related stress.

2. Stressors

Stress might not be directly work-related, and you will never be able to eradicate all stress from the workplace.

You can mention the above in this section, but you should state that this policy statement is your commitment to preventing and addressing work-related stress where possible.

It is advised that you state that employees are required to report stress at work to their appropriate manager. You can use this section to encourage employees to develop a balanced and responsible approach to their work and personal lives, informing management if personal stress is affecting their work.

3. Responsibilities of managers and senior management

Give clear guidance to managers on how to create a working environment that avoids or reduces potential stressors.

For example, your policy statement could state that managers should:

  • ensure work deadlines are reasonable and properly scheduled
  • create a culture in which bullying and harassment are not tolerated
  • recognise that employees need to balance their work and home lives and responsibilities
  • take employee concerns seriously about inappropriate pupil behaviour and ensure procedures are in place to support employees.

This section should also outline what senior management will do to prevent, recognise, and manage work-related stress (e.g. by considering flexible or part-time working where appropriate).

4. Stress absence procedure

Having a Stress Management Policy will help address stress-related issues as soon as they arise. However, there may be times when stress impacts an employee’s health so negatively that they have to take some time off work.

Your policy statement should outline the stress absence procedures that you and your employees should follow, state your objective to minimise sickness absence, provide support for employees, and plan and implement a structured return to work where this is desirable.

Encourage individuals to seek immediate advice from their GP to facilitate as speedy a return to work as possible. Also, where the employee consents, state that the Occupational Health Adviser will produce a report containing guidance to relevant managers on the necessary adjustments that should be made to the individual’s work.

5. Sickness absence management policy

Finally, you should acknowledge that this policy operates in conjunction with your Sickness Absence Management Policy.


If you’re looking for support with wellbeing, phased returns and reasonable adjustments or managing sickness absence and stress, including the use of our model policies, procedures and letters, along with relevant training, please talk to us.

Combat absence management using your data

Accurately recording absences will allow you to identify trends and patterns for individuals and the school or trust as a whole – giving you the chance to explore the causes and consider plans to combat them.

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