The purpose of this paper, based upon research carried out between a university and a Local Authority (LA) in the Midlands, UK, is to explore the phenomenon of head teachers working collaboratively across clusters of primary schools, or inter-collaboration.
A qualitative case study approach was taken and the data collection methods co-constructed with the participants.
The head teachers were eager to share what they perceived as an overwhelmingly positive collaborative experience. The findings in this paper illustrate perhaps the most significant discovery, i.e. the role that the collaborative clusters can play in offering emotional support to those head teachers involved.
This research was based within a specific LA, so the findings reflect the values manifested there. Quite different results may have been discovered in alternative contexts.
The personal, social and emotional needs of leaders are often overlooked in research whilst focussing upon the support that they offer to others. This paper explores the solitary role that headship can be and the function that supportive, collaborative clusters can provide in filling that emotional void.
The authors would like to thank Stoke Local Authority for funding this research, generously and with no limitations placed upon the approaches chosen. Without this funding, the authors would not have had the opportunity to celebrate the work of Tom Whittingham, who left behind a wonderful legacy. His kindness, encouragement, enthusiasm and care are much missed by all who had the privilege of working with him.
Solvason, C. and Kington, A. (2019), "Collaborations: providing emotional support to senior leaders", Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-05-2019-0010Download as .RIS
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