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This material has been designed for use in Initial Teacher Training as well as continuous Professional Development. It draws on HSE existing materials and adds new ones and is designed to guide learners through these as well as leave flexibility for trainers to use the materials in their own context. It covers 5 inter-related aspects:




The materials have been written with academic accreditation in mind enabling the acquisition of new knowledge and theory, critical analysis and the further development of learners’ ideas.

  • Starting point – Mary Tasker’s overview paper:  History, Values and Practice.  Focus from page 7 whereby “you cannot teach a child well until you know the child well”.  Small teams of teachers who will work closely with students, seeing no more than between 80 to 90 students each week, delivering a thematic, cross-disciplinary and holistic curriculum that is inquiry-based.
  • School Structures – Size Matters paper by Max Haimendorf and Jacob Kestner.  Focus on the practical manifesto for Education on a Human Scale, i.e. small learning communities working on a curriculum that is co-constructed and holistic. Less is More, the move to educate on a human scale, by Mike Davies (2005) – not currently on our website.


HSE has a clear set of values:

  • Participation and involvement of individuals
  • Individuals are valued and value others
  • Individuals have a sense of belonging in in their community and foster this in others
  • Individuals connect with the rest of the social and environmental world in respectful and sustainable ways

Many theories support the importance of these values in fostering effective learning. These often overlap in terms of the values promoted by HSE. Some examples that can be studied in Initial Teacher Training are:

1. Hierarchy of Human Needs: Maslow

2. KOLB: Learning

This diagram shows the importance of action, reflection, collaborative learning

3 . Relationships

Leadership, personalization and high performance schooling: naming the new totalitarianism
Michael Fielding* University of Sussex, UK

4. Belonging


Belonging is the feeling that I am a valued, contributing member of a group with other human beings to whom I feel responsible.  I feel recognised and do not fear embarrassment or compared to my peers. I feel free to learn from my failures as well as my successes.  This is true whether I am a child or an adult.


Schools need to be social institutions with a pedagogy of well-being. The two most important social institutions in the life of a child are usually their family and their school. Hopefully both function effectively but for some children the school becomes more significant in redressing some of the challenges in their family. If a family is distressed then it is even more important that the school assists a child’s healthy development.

Well-being is essential to learning. Teachers need to understand this connection particularly the link between secure attachment and a disposition to learn. Bowlby’s  (1969-80) theory of attachment tells us that children need a reliable attachment figure and a secure relationship in order to be able to trust, regulate emotions and be open to take the risks necessary to learn. 

Youell (2006) argues that we should give teachers the right working conditions, a manageable number of people for children to relate to, and the level and quality of supervision needed to promote young people’s emotional engagement with learning.

Smerdon (2002) argues that pupils with poor school performance often do not see themselves as belonging to the school community. As a result they lose motivation to achieve.

Research into the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning Project (SEAL) () in England showed that whole school practices that were related to SEAL were statistically linked to higher achievement and lower persistent absence via a more overall positive ethos of the school. Importantly this research claimed that nearly 50% of school level variance between test scores at the age of 14 and those at the age of 16 could be accounted for by whole school implementation of SEAL and resultant differences in school ethos.

A report (2011) by the 24 country OECD on how to achieve equity in education argues that all students can attain high level skills regardless of their personal and socio-economic circumstances by increasing the frequency and quality of student- student and student-teacher interactions.

Fielding (2012) has argued convincingly for a focus on relationships in schools and contrasts performance-focused schools where relationships can be manipulated to get the test scores up and pupils have a poor sense of belonging with person-centred schools that build a sense of belonging in students by putting relationships at the centre of the school.

PROGRESS (2013) has analysed data from 90 schools involving 30,000 pupils and 5,000 staff using its diagnostic (see Audit section). The more that pupils see themselves as belonging (safe and important in the school and connected to the people in it and to the school itself) the more likely they are to attain higher test grades.

Thus, in self-evaluating our schools it is important to try to discover to what extent pupils (and staff) feel they belong and what we can do to increase their sense of belonging. This will contribute to their well-being and in turn enable them to realise their potential more.






  • Mantle of the Expert, inquiry by Professor Dorothy Heathcote.
  • Less is More? The development of a school within schools approach to education on a human scale at Bishops Park College, Clacton. M. Fielding, J. Elliott, C. Burton, C. Robinson and J. Samuels (2006) – not currently on our website
  • School Structures: Transforming urban complex schools into better learning communities in Lessons from the Front: 1000 new teachers speak up.  Max Haimendorf and Jacob Kestner (2007) – not currently on our website.
  • Small is beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered. E.F. Schumacher
  • Attachment in the classroom. H. Geddes (2006)
  • The mosaic of learning. D. Hargreaves (1994)
  • DVD: The children left behind.  J. Wetz (2008)


1. Relationships

How would you assess how task focused and relationship focused a school is?

2. Belonging

Reflective Questions

1 What do you understand by “belonging” and its significance in your school?
2 How do you think a sense of belonging is related to well-being and achievement?
3 How would you find out the views of the following in relation to their sense of belonging to the school?
     a) Pupils
     b) Staff
     c) Parents/carers
4. What sort of things might be done to increase a sense of belonging among:
     a) Pupils
     b) Staff
     c) Parents/carers


PROGRESS is a process for enriching school cultures so as to give all young people the best possible opportunities to learn, grow and achieve through assessing and increasing their sense of belonging.
Just as an apricot tree that grows in well-nourished soil is the one that will produce the richest and juiciest fruit, so a supportive and affirming school culture will unleash energy and excitement for learning. 

Reading List
Bowlby J (1969-80): “Attachment and Loss Trilogy” London: Hogarth Press
Fielding M (2012): “Education as if people matter: John Macmurray, community and the struggle for democracy” Oxford Review of Education Vol. 38, No. 6, December 2012, pp. 675–692

OECD (2011): “Equity and Quality in Education; Supporting disadvantaged students and schools”, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2011,
Parks J (2013): “Detoxifying School Accountability. The case for multi-perspective inspection” Demos
Smearden B (2002): “Students’ perceptions of membership in their high schools”, Sociology of Education, 75, 2002, 287-305
Youell B (2006): “The Learning Relationship:Psychoanalytical thinking in education”, London; Karnac Books

Provide a response to the prompt questions below from the point of view of COOPERATION BETWEEN OTHER SCHOOLS (NOT within or between our schools):

3. Community Quilt of Quotes

In all these endeavours the School should enlist, as far as possible, the interest and cooperation of the parents and the home in an united effort to enable the children not merely to reach their full development as individuals, but also to become upright and useful members of the community in which they live, and worthy sons and daughters of the country to which they belong. (Handbook of Suggestions for Teachers (Board of Education 1927))

We should strive to make schools communities of responsibility. Community is viewed as a moral phenomenon rather than simply a geographic or territorial entity. Communities of responsibility go beyond (a shared sense of identity, belonging and involvement) by building into their cultures a capacity for self-regulation that ensures both internal and external accountability. Not only do members of the community share a common focus, they also feel morally obliged to embody this focus in their behaviour. (Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Leadership: What’s in it for schools? (2001))

Community n 1 a body of people living in one place or district or country and considered as a whole, a group with common interests or origins 3 fellowship, being alike in some way (Oxford Study Dictionary)

The dominant professional ideology (of the 1960s and 1970s) ensured that “our” school was an extension of manifest jurisdiction from the headteacher alone, to a professional forum comprising of all teachers in the school. Despite the rhetoric of community education and community participation which existed at the time, in only a relatively few locations was serious community participation in school decision making actively practised. Relatively democratic decision-making might include the whole teacher professional group but in general excluded the parents, the pupils and members of the community in other than a formal sense. (Gerald Grace, School Leadership (1995))

I telephoned a large community school, where adults study as well as teenagers and where activities go on until late in the evening. I asked to speak to the Head. “Which Head?” said the receptionist. “There are several heads of several schools here”. It was the outward sign of federal shamrock. (Charles Handy, The Age of Unreason (1999)

With relationships justified in communal terms (rather than exchange terms), certain activities, people and learning are valued in themselves, regardless of their utility as measured by outcomes or productivity. (Marianne Coleman and Peter Early, Leadership and Management in Education (2005))

Although there are a long list of what youngsters require, we (Communitarians) argue that the two requirements loom over all others, indeed are at the foundation of most others: to develop the basic personality traits that characterize effective individuals and to acquire core values…both are sometimes referred to as “developing character”. (Amitai Etzioni, The Spirit of Community (1995))

All members of the work team are supposed to share a common motivation, and precisely that assumption weakens real communication. Instead strong bonding between people means engaging over time their differences (Richard Sennett, The Corrosion of Character (1998)

Schools can become the new hubs of local communities, building social capital and renewing collective life through the process of offering new learning opportunities. Education can become part of society’s central nervous system, underpinning many other forms of activity and institutional life, in particular the civic sphere. But it can only do so if schools and colleges turn themselves inside out, reconnecting with the communities that surround them, and forging new relationships with learners, parents, employers and others. This, at root, is a practical, local challenge, which must be achieved at a human scale. But it is the foundation of a movement which could transform whole systems of provision and revolutionise our prospects for the future. (Tom Bentley, The Creative Society in Taking Education Really Seriously (2001))

Education as if people matter: John Macmurray, community and the struggle for democracy

Michael Fielding* Institute of Education, University of London, UK

Question: Which quotes do you particulary like and why?


  • Join HSE using the “Membership” button on HSE website
  • Use these materials
  • Carry pit your own research against HSE values, theories, practice in your own institution
  • Use the “HSE: Guide to Choosing a School for your Child” document to evaluate your thinking about your own education or of a school that you know.
  • Attend our conferences (posted on the website)


The Management of Change by D Taylor
School Structures Size Matters by Max Haimendorf and Jacob Kestner
History Values and Practice by Mary Tasker
New Learning Environments by Mike Davies
Learning Through Contrast by Mike Davies
Learning Design and HSE Education by Mike Davies
Relationships as a Springboard by James Wetz
Human Scale by Design by Mike Davies
Relationships or Results by Joshua Williams
Human Scale Thinking at the Heart of a Large School by Mark Wasserberg

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