Best Practice

Reality is like a beachball: Overcoming the imagined school

School leaders operate in the tension that lies between the reality of their schools and the future they imagine. This is not an easy space to work in. Robbie Burns considers how we can dream of the future while keeping a foot in the here and now
Image: Adobe Stock

“We all live within our own imagined world, but we operate within the real world. However, we can only improve the real school if we work on our imagined one.” Headteacher Matthew Evans (2021)


We might not be conscious of it, but our perception of reality is not a complete representation of all that is. As you drive into the car park, turn off the ignition, scan yourself into the building, and begin your working day, you don’t have time to think about all of the beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, ideas you hold about the school in which you work, the people who work there, the children who learn there, and the wider community you are all a part of.

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