Collaboration in Times of Crisis: Leading UK Schools in the Early Stages of a Pandemic

Moira Hulme, Gary Beauchamp, Linda Clarke, Lorna Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


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
Pages (from-to)161-180
Number of pages19
JournalLeadership and Policy in Schools
Issue number1
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Apr 2021

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Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


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