Latest Thinking

Blogs, thoughts and recommendations from the SAfE Team.




Considering Collaboration

Is there a one size fits all solution?


Last week saw a number of policy announcements from the DfE promoting collaboration and clarifying that "The government’s vision is for every school to be part of a family of schools in a strong multi academy trust." (Gavin Williamson, CST conference).

I agree with much of what was said. As we move to the future with the challenges that face us we cannot afford to drift back to a position of some schools being isolated or prospering at the expense of others. I am reminded of Sir David Carter’s comment at our Leadership Summit in February: "No single school has the all the answers and that we can only improve the system if we work better together".

In my view all schools should be working in a truly collaborative manner with other schools. Indeed, most schools should be working within more than one collaboration or partnership. Partnership working and collaboration within, across and beyond schools are essential elements of leading change, and collaboration both solves problems and stimulates teachers’ motivation - it gives them confidence and pride in their work. I agree with Baroness Berridge when she says that high performing schools should not sit in their ‘splendid outstanding isolation’.

What does collaboration mean for schools?


However, does this mean structural change for all schools? Does this mean that all schools must join or form Multi-academy trusts?

We are lucky in Surrey that we have so many fantastic MATs. I have seen over the last year the power of trusts to bring together their schools, provide leadership, guidance, support and a sense of community. And whilst I would celebrate and applaud MATs for this – indeed I am a huge supporter of strong MATs and a trustee on the board of director of one – I am more cautious about the recent renewed MAT push from the DfE for a number of reasons.



The SAfE
Virtual Book Corner

Visit SAfE's Virtual Book Corner for top reading recommendations from the SAfE team. We have compiled a list of  book and articles which we believe support our leadership and professional development programmes.

Recommended Reads - Books


  • 'The ResearchED Guide to Leadership: An evidence-informed guide for Teachers' - Various

  • 'Research-Informed Practice'Jennifer Ludgate 'A practical but evidence informed book on how to design a CPD programme.' - Maria Dawes, SAfE CEO

  • ‘An Updated Practical Guide to the Pupil Premium’ - Marc Rowland 

  • ‘Learning without Labels’  - Marc Rowland's latest book!

  • 'Education with Purpose – the Heart of What Matters'Stephen Tierney 'Looking at what mattersm not just what works. I particularly like the chapter on ‘What is your why'.' - Maria Dawes

  • 'Flip the System: Changing Education from the Ground Up'Renae Kneyber and Jelmer Evers  'This book looks at ways to embrace a more humane, more democratic approach to education, a move that places teachers exactly where they need to be - at the steering wheel of educational systems worldwide.' - Louise Yarnell, SAfE SI Advisor 

  • 'Leading Academy Trusts – Why Some Fail but Most Don't'Sir David Carter with Laura McInerney. 'A must read for any CEO (or aspiring CEO) or chair of a MAT trust board.' - Maria Dawes

  • 'Leader: Know, Love and Inspire your People' -  Katy Granville-Chapman and Emmie Bidston (all purchase proceeds to the Prince's Trust)

  • 'Back on Track'Mary Myatt

  • 'Putting Staff First' John Tomsett

  • 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' – Stephen R Covey 'His seven habits help to develop the tools to lead better, but he also helps you to understand how you can get the best out of those that you lead and manage' - Louise Yarnell

  • 'Supporting the Emotional Work of School Leaders'Belinda Harris 'When the pressures of the role seem insurmountable, this book will remind you that you are not alone! Helps to develop your own emotional resilience and a few tools to help you bounce back when needed.' -  Louise Yarnell

  • 'Staying A Head – Stress Management Secrets of Successful School Leaders' - Viv Grant 

  • 'Riding the waves' - James Hilton 'This book looks at both primary and secondary school leaders and how they can find fulfilment in their challenging roles in order to lead their schools successfully.'  -  Louise Yarnell

  • 'Teacher Resilience – Manging Stress and Anxiety to Thrive in the Classroom' Jamie Thom 'A really good book to dip into with practical actions teachers and leaders can take to build resilience.' - Maria Dawes


Recommended Reads - Articles



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