Thursday, 18 Apr 2024

Posh academy school is asking parents to buy presents for snowflake teachers to help them cope with stress

PARENTS with kids at a posh grammar school are being urged to buy presents for their stressed out teachers.

Snowflake staff will then be treated to a “well-being week” with activities in and out of school designed to give them a boost.

The gifts will be presented to teachers at Ilkley Grammar School in West Yorkshire to make their well-being “a priority”.

The week is the brainchild of headteacher Helen Williams who wrote to parents and carers this week asking for “donations”.

She suggests discount vouchers, goods or services including car valeting, ironing and merchandise to provide “a little boost to a member of staff”.


She writes: “We are planning our inaugural Staff Well-Being week, calendared for the week commencing May 20.

“We will be running a programme of in-school and out-of-school activities to support the staff in our drive to ensure we make their well-being a priority.

“In turn they can continue to fully support our students and the school community as a whole.

“In addition to the exciting plans we already have in place we are hoping to have the support and generosity of parents, caters and local businesses.

“We are therefore asking for any donation you may be able to provide to support our week.

“This could be discount vouchers for your business, goods and services eg. ironing service, car valeting, merchandise or anything at all that would provide a little boost to a member of staff.

“If you are interested in making a donation of any kind or you can offer a product or service to support us we would be grateful if you could let us know by the end of March.”


Mrs Williams’ letter has since sparked outrage in the local well-to-do community.

It has previously asked parents to dig deep and voluntarily pay up to £180 a year due to changes in its funding.

Last night, one parent who has a daughter at the school, fumed: "I couldn't believe my eyes when I received this email.

“I run my own business and can only imagine what sort of response I would get from my customers if I sent out a request for freebies for my hardworking staff.

“I’m pretty certain it would go down like a lead balloon.

“I’ve heard from other parents that all sorts have been offered, including posh holiday lets in the Yorkshire Dales.

“Ilkley is an affluent area with a lot of parents who own businesses locally that have offered their services for free in response to the schools request.

“Its beyond cheeky when you consider only last year all the parents were approached to help fund the day to day running costs of the school in a standing order donation scheme.

“I know schools are tight for money but this is a joke. And they say our kids are snowflakes.”

The Academy school, which is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, has 1,600 students aged 11 to 18 and approximately 200 teachers.

The school’s controversial Wellness Week comes after Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secrettary of the National Education Union, warned of an “epidemic of stress” among teachers.

Stress and mental health issues among teachers are said to have accounted for 1.3m days off nationally over the past four years.

Susie Leach, operations manager at Ilkley Grammar, said the school already had a “Wellbeing Wednesday” aimed at staff, once every half term.

She went on: “It’s definitely the right thing to do.

“The issues we have are national ones.

“But the teachers have a really challenging job, and that comes across in terms of workload and stress levels.”

Asked about the response to the letter, she said: “It’s early days but it’s been well responded to. It can be mixed.”

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