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Education School Amalgamations


Midlothian Council amalgmated several sets of schools during 2007-2008 in order to release capital and improve efficiencies. This meant bringing organisations together that had previously had their own leadership teams and autonomy, and who were now being asked to work together to create new, combined schools. In this they were asked to protect what had been excellent within each establishment, but change anything that had not been good. Whilst recognising the opportunity, leaders experienced tension and difficulty in knowing how best to approach the amalgamation.

lifetimeswork was asked to help during the planning stages of each amalgamation, to ensure a smooth transition and the establishment of the fundamentals of good team leadership in the new schools.

What we did:

Both team and group coaching were used; both of these include individual coaching. Each school adopted a different process involving their middle managers, but all schools used the support of the senior team coaching.


There were many individual and team results enabled by the coaching. Some of these include:


  • Increased self awareness and higher self confidence
  • Better sense of how to maintain individual energy during high pressure moments including better time management
  • Improved relationship building with parents and other stakeholders
  • More (and more)delegation
  • Clearer and better prioritisation
  • Clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • Faster decision making on strategic issues

The individual sessions have been particularly beneficial in terms of my own growth and development. They have enabled me to further develop my strategic thinking and leadership skills. I feel more confident about the future, the task that lies ahead and my ability to fulfil the role of HT at Lawfield. Team sessions gave opportunity to air and share concerns of each team member. This has enabled us to communicate more effectively in an open, honest way, and has strengthened the working relationship.


Julie Hunter, Head of Lawfield



Our main aims in setting up this project were to support senior managers in managing school amalgamations and to explore another facet of coaching, having already set up introductory coaching training, a coaching Diploma course and coaching training for all senior and middle managers in a secondary school.  This project confirmed that while the development of a coaching culture throughout our organisation, through enhancing the skills of our staff,  is hugely positive, there is an important role for  professional coaches, who are independent of the organisation and are able to challenge and support in a different way.  The impact of this project has been that managers felt valued simply by being offered support of this level and quality and that they have, through becoming more aware of their own values, strengths and skills, been better equipped to lead and manage complex change situations.


Sheena Dawe, Quality Improvement Manager,

Education and Communities Division

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