Books and downloadable resources to support school improvement

Hopeful schools: building humane communities

It’s tempting to think that everything is getting worse. This book takes the view that there is more that is good in education and that this should be celebrated. It draws on research which shows how successful organisations are more optimistic, more humane and more hopeful.

"All too often leadership books and books on education like to reduce complex processes and issues to simple checklists and simple questions. The book, like Mary Myatt, understands that there are many intricate aspects involved in teaching, and leading a school. One thing you get from her writing is that there are people at the centre of schools. Too often statistics, numbers and policies detract us from the fact that in education we deal with real people, young or old, who are complex and unpredictable. They have dreams. They have fears. They have insecurities too. Humans daily tread the fine line between helplessness and hope.

This daily battle is at the heart of the book. How do you turn negativity into positivity? Mary’s book looks at education from the perspective of people. The book isn’t about hitting targets and impressing people. The book is about how to make the experience in schools better for students, parents, teachers and leaders. There are schools in the world where teachers feel helpless. There are schools in the world where leaders feel helpless. Hopeful Schools is a welcome beacon of light, hope, and positivity in possibly one of the most challenging times in education. Be clear, this isn’t a rose-tinted view of education either. Mary addresses the difficult issues head-on and asks the difficult questions, using a wide range of sources and examples (inside and outside education), which we have to ask ourselves if we are going to be better or the best.

Hopeful Schools is a brilliant philosophical investigation into how we can get the best from our students, the best from our teachers, and the best from our schools. It is a book of ideas, questions and examples told with such warmth, detail and thought that only a human could write it. This is about leadership with the heart and the head for doing the right thing."

Chris Curtis, Head of English

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High Challenge, Low Threat

This book makes the case that we like doing things that are difficult, that we are a challenge-seeking species. This has implications for leadership, management and classroom practice.

"This book has been informed through thousands of conversations over a 20-year career in education. It shows the lessons that school management teams can learn from leaders in a wide range of other sectors and points to the conditions which these leaders create to allow colleagues to engage with difficult issues enthusiastically and wholeheartedly.

It makes the case that any leadership role is concerned primarily with the relationships between individuals. It is the quality of these, whatever the size of the organisation, which make the difference between organisations which thrive, and those which stagnate."

Dr Lynne Sedgemore CBE

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Watch the video of Mary's TEDXNorwichED talk on this subject. Mary's TEDxNorwichED

Downloadable resources


A document providing clickable resources to support the Prevent agenda in your school.

Agreeing to disagree: a sheet of sentence stems.

Pupil questionnaire

Learning survey


Some curriculum examples

Bloom's question masters