Flemish schools receive help to tackle burnouts among teachers

Flemish schools receive help to tackle burnouts among teachers
Teachers are increasingly facing pressures at work. Credit: Belga

The chronic teacher shortage in Flanders is getting worse as staff burnout, prompting the region to develop guidelines to help schools support their staff.

Previously, schools were left to their own devices to find solutions regarding staff mental health care, however, as the number of teachers and other school personnel suffering from burnout and other issues is increasing, schools in the region will be given more concrete assistance.

"We want to reduce the outflow of teachers by paying more attention to their psychosocial well-being," Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts said when announcing the latest measure to tackle the shortage of teachers.

Prevention and intervention

With the help of scientists, the Flemish education partners developed measures that aim to help school boards make preventive policies against teacher burn-out, excessive work pressure or pupil aggression.

This should help schools make targeted interventions within the school, which "can sometimes make a huge difference and make the difference between a successful career and an early departure," Weyts explained.

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The guide includes 50 validated instruments and approaches to deal with various issues and also offers an inspirational guide with tips for the short and the long term, such as an efficient division of tasks, varied assignments, clear agreements, and opportunities for professionalisation, among others.

Additionally, efforts are being made by the sector to provide the training of principles and other in-school staff to intervene as confidential counsellors.

"We are fighting the teacher shortage on several fronts at once. That also means: fighting stress, at all levels," Weyts explained.

"Now, for the first time, all education partners endorse one and the same approach and commit themselves to promote it in all schools. In this way, we want to keep more people on board together," he concluded.

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