Complexity Management Weekend – Leading in Education


The Complexity and Management Centre at the University of Hertfordshire are pleased to hold this event in conjunction with Roffey Park Institute.

Education is a complex, messy, unpredictable undertaking, never linear, rarely logical, sometimes two steps forward and one step back. It involves complex relationships. We have so much hope invested in schools and colleges and what they can do for our young people, their families and communities that it can feel like an enormous burden for school staff.

And yet the guidance we have for leading and managing schools, and the way that they are judged, is based on logical, linear thinking which assumes a predictable progression towards an idealised end state. The mismatch between theory and practice doesn’t help leaders and managers in the sector.

What would it mean for school and college leaders and managers to consider more fully the challenges of managing complex organisations when logical theories dominate the sector? How can we better understand the imperfections of school or college life when simplified metrics and powerful leadership fads (often imposed by local or national politicians) invite us to prioritise the ideal? What unhelpful patterns can we get caught up in with staff, students and families when we assume that there is a linear connection between cause and effect? How might reflection and reflexivity help us to understand what it is that abstract frameworks for school and college planning and evaluation cover over?

This Complexity and Leading in Schools weekend will give you the opportunity to learn about a radically different way of thinking about the complex hurley burley of social life in schools. The course has been informed by a perspective on complexity which has been developed at the Complexity Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire (UH) over more than 20 years. It is suitable for leaders and senior managers in schools and colleges of further education, or those who are more generally interested in the theories of complex responsive processes of relating.

Convenors of the course have direct experience of leading in schools and are highly experienced scholar-practitioners. The course is an interesting mix of short seminars from course leaders, to stimulate participants to bring practical examples from their daily lives in management so that they think, talk, reflect and become reflexive together. The course will provide a stimulating and highly participative environment for two days to bring the complexity of the management and leadership in education to life.

Dates and Fees

11-12 March 2023 at Roffey Park Institute

£700 +VAT per person. The fee includes accommodation and meals


Photo of Roffey Park Institute

The Complexity Management weekend will be held at Roffey Park’s purpose-built venue which is set in 40 acres of rural Sussex Countryside just five minutes from the M23 and 20 minutes from London Gatwick Airport.