A 'High Challenge, Low Threat' School Culture

  • Create the conditions for productive work
  • Use principles of high challenge, low threat to:
    • drive whole-school improvement
    • allow colleagues to combat difficult issues
  • Leadership challenges: explore how the best leaders in the world overcome them

Information on speakers coming soon.


The importance of high challenge, low threat

Examples from industry: what the most successful leaders do best

Unpick cognitive psychology: Prof. Daniel Willingham

Leadership and management theory: Prof. Rosabeth Moss Kanter


The principles of wise leadership

Dig deeper, linger longer: tackle fewer things in greater depth

Give everyone a voice, from teachers to parents to pupils

Develop personal authority and do not rely on power


Focus on the core business: challenging teaching and learning

Build intrinsic motivation in staff and pupils

How to evidence the successes in your school

Ensure your staff embrace challenge


Create a low-threat environment where staff can make mistakes

Reduce the fear factor and develop vulnerable reciprocity

Make change management a mechanism for growth

Build trusting relationships in which you can have difficult conversations


Tools to implement ‘high challenge, low threat’ principles

Curriculum examples for raising challenge

A workload challenge audit

Five strategies to save time and create challenge

Curriculum planning and assessment techniques

Making critical guidance and feedback specific