Fearless Cultures: developing and leading cultures of psychological safety and wellbeing across multiple sites

Jeanie Davies, co-founder of Schoolgenie and author of The Trust Revolution in Schools

“Results are the outcomes of how people feel” De Botton

Think of a time when you tried to initiate change but came up against unseen barriers, perceptions, beliefs, or ways of being, that sabotaged your attempts in their tracks. It is often the case in academies that we rely on systems and structures to make change and progress.  Yet unless staff feel a sense of belonging and that they can trust one another, this framework of systems and structures, at best, is used tacitly and, at worst, is avoided and twisted, rendering those structures redundant. This becomes even more difficult when we try to create consistency and continuity under the umbrella of one Trust, sharing culture and behaviours across multiple sites.

So how do we address culture in this brave new, unchartered world, of steering the Trust ship? The starting point needs to be enabling collaboration, trust, and genuine connection between different academies. Surprisingly, this is an easier ask when it comes to culture as it is a topic that resides in the domain of the psychological and human which is usually a more attractive proposition for collaborative groups than an overhaul of the system is. To create a trust based culture, it’s also helpful to return to the language that underpins each of our roles as public servants; those of the Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education. Below we will focus on four of these: wisdom, trust, service, and optimism.

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