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The Conversation That Never Happened

I’ve noticed something lately that I think your staff might need to have a conversation about. That said, it’s sometimes a little like a conversation is assumed to have already happened … but it hasn’t.

You see, I’ve spoken to countless teachers about restorative methods, models and strategies for engaging students more effectively in the classroom, and a common response I hear is, “Look, I’d really like to, but we’re under enormous pressure from leadership to get through the curriculum. There’s just so much content we have to cover, and we have to stay focused on it.”

Fair enough.

Then I find myself in conversations with the leaders at the very same school who tell me that they’ve never said any such thing to their teachers. The vast majority insist that they’ve explicitly told teachers they can back off on the curriculum treadmill if it means happy, engaged, mentally well and motivated students.

Somebody isn’t telling the complete truth here. And, if this is a phenomenon occurring at your school, then it’s time that conversation for clarity happened.

But go easy on each other, ok?

My hunch is that neither your school’s teachers nor the school leaders are completely at fault here. There’s often a poorly interpreted departmental directive in play. And when you mix that in with a healthy dose of parent pressure sprinkled with some omnipresent media disrespect, it isn’t hard to deduce what’s driving teachers and school leaders to this distraction.

But those forces are not physically in your staff room. Go there. Talk. Get clear.

Then get to work on what you achieve consensus around.

Keep fighting that good fight,


PS. Don’t miss the incredible new Partnership Funding Opportunities introduced by Schools Plus to transform your school. Real Schools is excited to offer our three-year School Culture Partnership as an option for schools seeking to optimise the utilisation of this funding and make a lasting impact on their school community. Eligible schools with an ICSEA value below 1000 can apply from 7 August to 11 September 2023. Learn more at


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2023 Events:
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