Collaboration in times of crisis: Leading UK schools in the early stages of a pandemic

Moira Hulme*, Gary Beauchamp, Linda Clarke, Lorna Hamilton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper examines the political and relational dimensions of leading and managing schools in the early stages of pandemic-induced school closure in the four nations of the United Kingdom. It draws on in-depth interviews with 12 headteachers from primary, secondary and special schools. Headteachers used adaptive leadership strategies, including bridging, brokering and buffering, to recalibrate provision at pace. School closures demanded enhanced levels of coordination and communication around what mattered most. However, despite exercising creative agency, headteachers spoke of “clipped wings”, with some feeling “vulnerable” or “alone” in attempting to mitigate often unknown risks amid constantly shifting guidance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLeadership and Policy in Schools
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2021


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