Blog Post

Compassionate Leadership: Re-engaging learners and staff through Recovery Curriculum

For the last five years now, the Schools Partnership Programme (SPP) has worked with almost 2,000 schools around the country to help them not only to help each other, but to improve each other’s practice. SPP builds the skills in peer review, coaching, non-judgmental enquiry and creating a culture of feedback and support that transform more traditional approaches to school improvement into something school-led and empowering, putting power not only in the hands of school leaders but, in time, middle leaders and staff across the whole school.

Our framework and materials provide the rigour and structure to make collaboration more than “just” peers supporting each other. While at the moment that support is certainly more crucial than ever, it needs to be approached much more intentionally in a socially distanced environment. SPP helps turn collaboration and evidence into action and, ultimately, improved outcomes for children and young people. 

We believe that school leaders and teachers already have the answers to their most challenging issues. SPP helps them unlock those answers for themselves. One of the aims of SPP has always been to help transition groups of schools to an impactful, self-sustaining, collaborative partnership over time – we want schools to not need us anymore! Only then will our original vision of helping to co-create a self-improving, school-led system where schools are jointly responsible for the improvement of themselves and others start to be realised.

We’re delighted to have connected with Professor Barry Carpenter, co-author with his son and current Headteacher Matthew, on the timely and important concept of 'Recovery Curriculum.' Their work and thinking has articulated an idea that resonates with many across the education sector, something we’ve always known put into clear and certain terms – relationships are key. Without reflecting, reimagining, rebalancing and reconnecting together, true recovery from the continual disruption we’re facing could be much longer and much more challenging in the long term for individuals than we imagine.

With our team of Associates, we have developed a set of simple, accessible enquiry questions that cut through the noise and enable school leaders to reflect clearly on how they continually reengage and nurture their school communities this year. Not “catching up” or “bouncing back,” but instead creating the space to acknowledge the loss – and in some cases gains – that school communities have experienced and move forward together. For schools already trained by us in peer review and collaborative school improvement, we hope that this is a practical contribution to our primary aim for this year – continuing to help schools around the country to help each other. 

We will be welcoming Barry Carpenter as a guest speaker in the first of our termly National SPP interactive meetings on 2nd December, 4pm – 5.30pm: Supporting compassionate and collaborative leadership through peer review, following a period of school disruption. 

If you are a school currently with SPP, you can register your free place at the National SPP meeting here.

If you are a school that has engaged with SPP in the past, either recently or some time ago, please join us for our SPP Alumni Programme launch webinars in November – we’d love to reconnect with you and invite you to join us in creating a national community around peer review in education, even if you haven’t practiced peer review for a while. You can register your free place here.

And if you are new to SPP, please get in touch! We’d be happy to work with you to help you get the most out of your partnership working, be that in an informal group of schools or one supported by a local authority, trust, teaching school alliance - we’ve worked with them all.