- what people say -

Professor Graham Handscomb

Honorary Professor University College London (UCL), Professor of Education and Dean of The College of Teachers

"Relationships matter. The health of society, and its institutions, is built upon the quality of relationships within it.  Whilst this seems self-evident, insufficient attention has been devoted to how we can foster and sustain relationships – to build relational capital. Relational Schools is one of the few organisations dedicated to this end.  Its work demonstrates how a focus on improving relationships in schools improves a broad range of educational and social outcomes, and can overcome disadvantages.  Ever since I chaired Robert Loe’s doctoral assessment board, I have been impressed by his vision and conviction that building a store of relational capital and capability will help to enrich and transform the lives of students, teachers, families and communities. The pioneering work being done by Relational Schools has the potential  to transform policy and practice in schools."

Chris Dale

Director of Teaching and Learning and Research School, Samuel Ward Academy Trust

“Our work with Relational Schools has had a profound impact on my approach as an educational leader.  It reinforced the evidence that relationships are the glue that holds every learning institution together and provided a detailed set of metrics to measure this providing areas for development. 

More importantly, it has provided a narrative and direction for system level relational change across our MAT and beyond.  Their input and leadership is consistently of high quality, nuanced and evidenced informed which matches where we are moving to as an organisation.”

Gwyn ap Harri

CEO, XP School

“In a sector that talks about evidence-based practice, a lot of the evidence being used is weak, and is used to promote a certain ideology. Relational Schools stood out to us as able to offer an independent, empirical test that what we do works.

The process was simple, unobtrusive, and enjoyable, and allowed our staff and students to reflect deeply on the purpose of what we do.”

Professor Colleen McLaughlin

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education

“This is an important piece of work for schools, teachers and pupils alike. It is not new to emphasise the relational, but it is unusual today to hear the human language that Jung used to discuss the topic of teaching and learning: our modern world is much more concerned with efficiency and instrumentalism. There is an increasing interest in the role of the school and how it relates to a range of aspects: learning outcomes, mental health or wellbeing, later life and development. There have also been many studies that have focused on the type of teacher that pupils like.

[But Relational Schools] … goes beyond studies or views of 'the sort of teacher that I like'. The…use of research into the classroom relationships, their pattern and nature…is new and it acts as a powerful catalyst to reflection on the realities of life in the classroom rather than classrooms viewed through our own lens as teacher or pupil.

The other aspect of this work that is distinctive is the attempt to capture these interactions in a form that can feed useful, developmental conversations with teachers and pupils. The research element is crucial to the serious development and study of this area. To move beyond anecdote, we need to engage in serious research and this in turn will help to have this area of education taken more seriously. The research being undertaken, by Relational Schools, is a real step forward in detailing the warp and weave of classroom action.”

Helena Marsh

Executive Principal, Linton Village College & Chilford Hundred Education Trust

“Engaging in research with Relational Schools has been an incredible professional development opportunity for colleagues at Linton Village College. Being the pilot school for the documentary exploring the impact of teacher-student relationships and contributing chapters to the Relational Teacher publication enabled staff to study this importance aspect of their practice in a deep and thoughtful way. The school community has been able to make tacit knowledge and skills regarding the development of relationships more explicit in staff meetings and training. Building positive ‘relationships for learning’ has become a more tangible whole school approach as a result of our involvement with Relational Schools.”