Best Practice

Is there trust in your school?

Low trust between teachers and school leaders can lead to toxic cultures in our schools. David Weston discusses possible solutions to this dangerous situation

On my recent trip to the USA, I was struck by how, both there and here, we sometimes need to find solutions to “toxic” school cultures.

While over there, I had the opportunity to listen to a large number of American teachers in Michigan talking about the issues facing them over their professional development. What struck me was how, despite very different systems, the resulting issues are similar on both sides of the Atlantic.

In particular, it felt like I struck a chord when I talked about the barrier of cultures of low trust: where senior leaders feel they are making the effort to improve the school, but don’t trust that teachers are on board; and where teachers feel they are working hard but don’t trust that senior leaders are acting in the best interests of the school, staff and students.

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