“Community is much more than belonging to something; it’s about doing something together and making that belonging count.”

-Brian Solis

Relationships, like culture, happen whether you plan for them or not. The role of the school in a child's life is a wonderful opportunity and a solemn responsibility for leaders and teachers. During the lockdowns of the last year, schools rose to the challenge of serving their communities in a huge variety of ways. Many would like to build on this work and continue to strengthen relationships. But how do we balance academic rigour whilst see the whole child? What support do families need, and can the school provide this? 

The team at Reach Academy have placed strong relationships at the heart of the school since we opened in 2012. This Reach short course is designed to answer these questions, blending theoretical insight with practical guidance. 

It will be right for you if you wish to:

Build your knowledge about developing relationships
Get started with building better relationships with pupils; colleagues; parents and carers; and the whole community.
reflect Reflect with colleagues about the benefits and challenges of building stronger relationships. 
consider Consider what it would take to engage more purposefully and proactively with the community in and beyond your school.




'An introduction to building strong relationships' is designed for pairs of teachers from the same school. It is suitable for both primary and secondary teachers, as well as school leaders.

Over the course of a term you will build your knowledge, make a plan, give relationship-building a try in your school and reflect with colleagues. This process will be supported by:

  • Ten pre-recorded sessions to build knowledge about relationships, including video examples of high quality coaching. 
  • Four 90 minute live webinars to further explore and practice the core building blocks of developing great relationships.

The course is designed to enable you to start your work on relationships quickly, with a view to embedding this work in your school in the long term. By the end of the course, you will be well equipped to decide your next steps on building relationships, whether that is introducing some of the strategies and principles across your department; scaling it to your school; or accessing further and more comprehensive training.


Structure and Course dates:

Taught sessions (pre-recorded)

Live webinars

Launch webinar

1.     What might a community around the child look like?

Getting clear on your home-school agreement: what do you expect from each other?


2.     How can classroom culture create an environment for great relationships to flourish?

3.     How do school staff create the weather?

4.     What happens outside of the classroom to support pupils who find school challenging?

5.     How can home visits help to build alignment?

Striking the balance between support and challenge on home visits.

6.     How do you get support and challenge right with parents and carers?

7.     How can family groups in school support parents and carers?

8.     How do teachers communicate with home?

9.     How can the safeguarding team provide more than child protection?

Developing a strategy to embed and grow your work on relationships.

10.  What might a school-based, cradle to career offer look like?

Places Available:

We limit the number of places on our short courses to 32 people (16 pairs of teachers). This is to enable high levels of engagement during the live webinars, which are largely conducted in 'break out' groups of 4. Break out groups are facilitated by staff members currently doing the work at Reach Academy Feltham and the Reach Children's Hub. 

Cost: £400 for two people from the same school. This is a discount rate as this is the first time we are running this programme. 


The course will begin in September and will run until Christmas. Participants will be expected to attend the four live webinars, which will take place after school from 16:00-17:30 (exact dates to be confirmed upon registration). 

Course Leads: 

Ed Vainker

Ed Vainker is the CEO of the Reach Foundation. He was the co-founder and Principal of Reach Academy Feltham, an all-through Free School that opened in 2012. It was judged outstanding in 2014 and has quickly built a strong reputation in the sector. Ed oversees the Foundation's cradle to career model, including the Reach Children's Hub and Convening Model. He has overseen Reach's work around curriculum and teach development and for the last three years has provided school improvement support and coaching to school leaders beyond Reach. 


Jon Hutchinson

Jon is Director, Learning and Training at the Reach Foundation. Prior to this he was Assistant Headteacher at Reach Academy Feltham. His is a Visiting Fellow at Ambition Institute where he works as a tutor on the Masters in Expert Teaching programme, and Course Director of the Early Years Foundation Degree at the Reach Foundation. Before training as a teacher, Jon was a youth worker for a children's heart charity and worked as a telephone counsellor for NSPCC Childline. He has also acted as an independent advisor to the DfE, and is a member of the Ofsted's English advisory group. 



To arrange to ask questions about the course, please email jon.hutchinson@reachfoundation.org.uk

To register your interest for the short course please click here