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The Ripley Teaching School’s Menopause Mentors Leadership Programme is championing menopause in the educational workplace.

Menopause in the workplace, menopause at work, schoolsRaising awareness of menopause issues that might affect women in their school workplaces, they are developing an inclusive and supportive culture where everyone can flourish, whatever their age or gender.

Last year Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace supported The Ripley Teaching School Alliance in Lancaster with their menopause education and mentoring programme.

Highlighting wellbeing at work

Julie Bostock, Director of Teaching School, had attended a ‘Wellbeing in Work conference’ in 2019. This focussed on the impact of menopause on the teaching profession.  This highlighted how the profession risks losing many experienced, talented teachers if the right understanding and support around menopause is not in place.

Initially, contact was made with schools within the teaching alliance to understand the interest in attending training and rolling out programmes within schools. Nine schools joined the project including:

  • Central Lancaster High
  • Baines School, Poulton le Fylde
  • Carr Hill High School, Kirkham
  • Ripley St Thomas CE Academy
  • Clitheroe Royal Grammar School
  • The Hollins, ELTSA
  • West End County Primary, Oswaldtwistle
  • Blackpool Sixth Form College
  • Bury CE High School

Menopause Mentors Leadership Programme

Julie says: “Following the successful funding application to the DfE funded Equality and Diversity project, Ripley Teaching School Alliance worked with Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace to plan the roll out of the project.

“In January 2020, we started the Menopause Mentoring Leadership Programme with members from each school.”

Menopause Mentors signed up to:

  • Attend a one-day training event which enabled them to raise awareness and provide signposting for help to colleagues in their school.
  • Join three meetings to share progress and best practice
  • Produce and submit an impact report about the work they have done to support two individual colleagues.
  • Deliver a presentation to their school leaders about menopause and the workplace

“The morning of training day focused on why we’re talking about menopause, what it is, its symptoms and ways of managing them. We explored why it’s urgent and important to talk about menopause within the teaching profession and understood where menopause fits into employment law,” continues Julie. “We discussed reasonable adjustments, and how to have a supportive conversation with a member of staff and provide all the relevant factual signposting including how to get the most out of a GP appointment.

“The afternoon focused on how to take this information back into individual schools. Sally Leech, from Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace, worked with us to ensure the mentors felt confident in taking the project forwards.”

Menopause mentorsFeedback included:

“Chance to talk to others, excellent content and delivery, information about legal contract, good to see surgical menopause included!”

“Just listening to an experienced and knowledgeable trainer, made the day fun yet informative.”

“I have a clear idea about my actions to implement this in school.”

What’s next for Ripley and other schools in the current climate?

Lockdown has put a pause on some of the plans and the impact report is now required for 2021. Prior to lockdown a few initiatives had already been started which had received hugely positive feedback:

  • Menopause Café/Lunch & Learn sessions
  • Poster campaigns
  • Senior leader presentations
  • Senior leader buy-in to support the project moving forwards in individual school

“We hope to continue to see the positive impact of this project once we are back in school.”

Julie Bostock, Director of Teaching School.

The Ripley Teaching School had identified that around 80% of school staff and 66% of headteachers nationally are female and 1 in 5 school teachers are over the age of 50.  With the average age of menopause being 51, they were proactive in addressing the needs of their staff.  We congratulate them on the work they have undertaken and look forward to hearing about their continued progress.

With thanks to Julie Bostock, Director of The Ripley Teaching School.

Sally Leech is an Associate Trainer at Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace.

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