Collaborative Culture in Schools: The Key to Improved Student Achievement

The responsibility of a school principal is ever-growing and increasingly challenging, as they must now reduce teacher workload in addition to their usual duties like managing resources, delivering the curriculum, and supervising staff. This is no small task! Research has proven that having a collaborative atmosphere at school brings forth numerous benefits for students as well as teachers; including improved performance and lowered stress levels.

There are many successful examples of schools with collaborative cultures, including schools that have implemented professional learning communities (PLCs) or collaborative planning structures. In these schools, teachers work together to plan and deliver the curriculum, share resources, and provide feedback and support to each other. These schools often report improved student achievement, increased teacher satisfaction, and a more positive school culture.

But how does the principal facilitate the fostering of a collaborative school culture:

1. Understand teacher workload and its effects on student achievement

Teacher workload has become a major concern in the education field, with studies indicating that excessive workload can lead to high levels of stress, burnout, and job dissatisfaction among teachers. In turn, this can negatively impact teacher effectiveness, leading to decreased student achievement. As the school principal, it is important to understand the impact of teacher workload on student learning and to work towards reducing it.

2. Recognise the importance of a collaborative school culture in reducing teacher workload

A collaborative school culture can help reduce teacher workload by promoting teamwork and shared responsibility among staff. When teachers feel supported by their colleagues and have the opportunity to collaborate on curriculum and assessment, they can more effectively manage their workload and have a more positive impact on student learning. Additionally, a collaborative school culture can help to foster a positive work environment and improve staff morale, which can also reduce stress and burnout among teachers.

3. Foster a collaborative school culture in your school

Fostering a collaborative school culture requires a commitment from all members of the school community. Principals can facilitate this process by encouraging teachers to work together on common goals and initiatives, promoting open communication and regular professional development opportunities, and creating opportunities for staff to share ideas and best practices. Additionally, providing resources and support to teachers, such as reducing paperwork and providing access to technology, can help reduce their workload and contribute to a collaborative school culture.


A collaborative school culture benefits everyone in the school community, including students, teachers, and administrators. For students, a collaborative school culture can lead to improved academic performance and a more engaging and supportive learning environment. For teachers, a collaborative school culture can reduce stress and burnout, improve job satisfaction, and increase their effectiveness in the classroom. For principals, a collaborative school culture can lead to a more positive school environment, improved teacher morale, and increased student achievement. Ultimately, a collaborative school culture is essential for creating a successful and thriving educational community.

Author: Dr Jake Madden

Jake Madden (Dip Teach; B.Ed; Grad Dip: Leadership; M. Ed: Leadership; EdD; FACEL; MACE) Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring and co-authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.

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