6.3: Effective professional relationships

Time allocation

15 minutes


  • Read the information about professional relationships with other adults.
  • Respond to the prompts as you read.

The intended outcomes of this activity are for you to:

Learn that
1.5 A culture of mutual trust and respect supports effective relationships.
8.3 Teachers can make valuable contributions to the wider life of the school in a broad range of ways, including by supporting and developing effective professional relationships with colleagues.

Effective professional relationships between all adults working in a school underpin school communities

These relationships:

  • Help colleagues to build understanding of pupils’ individual circumstances
  • Enable colleagues to support all pupils within the school
  • Support each other’s professional development
  • Contribute to pupils’ motivation, behaviour and academic success

Effective relationships are built on a culture of mutual trust and respect. Some of the communication skills we can use to achieve these include:

  • Thinking before speaking
  • Active listening such as nodding or smiling                        
  • Being respectful of different opinions and perspectives
  • Body language such as facing the person you are speaking to
  • Controlled facial expressions
  • Giving clear information or instructions
  • Making compromises and showing flexibility
  • Asking for time before responding to difficult feedback
  • Saying please and thank you when receiving help or advice
  • Dedicating sufficient time to conversations

In your notepad

  1. In what ways have your mentor and colleagues demonstrated through their communications with you that you are a trusted and respected member of the school community? 
  2. What have you noticed about the communication skills of the teachers in your school?
  3. Who communicates well? How do they do this?
  4. What could be communicated more effectively? Why?

It is important to remember that you can take steps to contribute positively to the wider school culture; there is a shared responsibility to improve the lives of all pupils. You should seek to give and receive support to individual colleagues and to work as part of a team.

In your notepad

Consider the following colleagues:

  • Librarian
  • Pastoral leaders 
  • Careers adviser
  • Science/D&T/Art/ICT technician
  1. Which of the above have you made contact/had interactions with?
  2. Which have you not had any interactions with?
  3. Who could you make contact with, either to share their general expertise or ask for specific guidance?

Supporting and developing effective relationships with your colleagues is an important way of making a positive contribution to the school culture. Collaborating and being a part of the wider school community will contribute to student learning, the school culture and your own wellbeing. Read the table below to see strategies that you can use.

Strategies to try

In practice

Stay positive
  • Remain upbeat and positive when interacting with colleagues.
  • When dealing with difficult conversations, try to focus on the resolution.
  • Try not to get drawn in to negative conversations, instead focus on the positives.
Ask for help and support
  • Seek advice whenever you need it.
  • Talk to colleagues from every part of the school and seek help/advice from them in their area of expertise.
  • Be open to learning from others.
  • If you are struggling with a pupil, consider the different people who can support you and seek them out.
  • Actively ask other teachers if you can informally observe their lessons and vice versa.
Offer help and support
  • Talk to different colleagues from all over the school. Keep building connections.
  • If a colleague is struggling, offer support. This could be academic, emotional or practical support.
  • Offer to observe a lesson and provide feedback.