Rae Snape

Rae Snape

United Kingdom

I am the Headteacher of the Spinney Primary School in Cambridge and a National Leader of Education for the Kite Teaching School Alliance. I am an enthusiastic and happy person who believes in the transformative power of the Arts, Creativity and Connection in Young People's lives. My Mantra is #OnlyConnect

Hi Everyone! My name is Rae Snape. I am a Headteacher and National Leader of Education based in Cambridge, England.   I have been the Headteacher of the Spinney Primary School since 2007. The Spinney is a happy, welcoming, creative and OfSTED “Outstanding” school in Cambridge. The school has been described as "forward thinking and outward reaching" and we connect with the local, national and international ecosystem in order to secure an exciting, dynamic and successful curriculum for our pupils. The Spinney is a National Teaching School and the lead school of the Kite Teaching School Alliance. I am passionate about the positive and transformative power of Arts, Culture and Creativity in young people’s lives and the Spinney is proud to have achieved Arts Mark Platinum from Arts Council, England. Along with other key Cultural Leaders, I was one of the initiators of "My Cambridge" a Cultural Educational Partnership for the City bringing together The Universities, The City Council, County Council, Schools, Businesses and Enterprise. Objectives include ensuring more young people have experience of and participation in high quality cultural opportunities, access to Arts Award programmes and the chance to experience viable and exciting pathways into the Creative Industries. I am the Chair of Cambridgeshire School Improvement Board, and a member of Cambridgeshire Culture which, with support from the bridge organization Festival Bridge aspires to connect all the regional Local Cultural Education Partnerships to “Champion raised aspiration for Cambridgeshire, to include a cultural entitlement for all the County’s young people.” I am the Festival Designer of Cambridgeshire Festival of Education an annual optimistic celebration of teachers and teaching whihc takes place at the Faculty of Education Cambridge University. I have been a member of the Department For Educations’s Primary Headteachers’ Reference Group since 2010 and am the Vice Chair of this group. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. You can find me tweeting @RaeSnape and my mantra is #OnlyConnect

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

I am keen to learn with and from other educators both nationally and internationally and am particularly interested in innovation.

As an Ashoka Changemaker School we look for ways to enhance our connected and creative curriculum by reaching out and connecting with others in the education eco system.

Education is an incredible force for good. I am inspired by this quote "Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer - into a selflessness which links us to all humanity." Nancy Astor

How can education support students to flourish?

A rounded whole education helps to realize a child's potential and can be transformative, not just for the individual but for Society.

In our school we want our children to happy now, fulfilled in the future and equipped with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to make their world an even better place.

What role does innovation play in education change?

Innovation is important as it helps us to keep moving forward. Innovation is not imitation. Innovation is not merely invention, innovation is looking at what has worked before and identifying proximal synergies and opportunities that help the education system to evolve. This agility for change is vital in our rapidly changing world.

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

1. We love MindUp Created by Goldie Hawn. The MindUP program is a brilliant  classroom-based curriculum, for ages 3 to 14. Published by Scholastic, this 15-lesson series is based on four pillars: neuroscience, social-emotional learning (SEL), positive psychology and mindful awareness. These lessons work together to build awareness and self-regulation that increases a child’s academic performance, self-control, empathy, and optimism. We have been using this for 2 years now and the teachers, the children and our parents have seen the positive benefits. The children are learning about their own minds, they learn how to mange their emotions, they learn how to meditate and self regulate their behavior, all in a positive and uplifting way!


2. We also love Random Acts of Kindness which is about cultivating resilience through Kindness. These resources are FREE. One of their strap lines is  "Don't just expect kindness, teach it!" which makes so much sense. The suggested lessons complement what schools will already be doing to promote Social and Emotional Learning and Well-Being and help to promote a sense of community and positive co-existence. Lesson objectives are progressive and continuous and include learning to show respect and care for others, skills of creating a "Kind Classroom", learning about personal space and boundaries, managing conflict through peaceful means, learning how to resist peer pressure and how to develop a positive sense of self.

3. Another Innovation that we LOVE at The Spinney is EmpathyLab

EmpathyLab is a new organization founded by Miranda McKearney OBE. This is an empathy, literature and social action programme for 4-11 year olds. "Using the power of reading and books the aim to make a real difference to thousands of children’s lives, story by story. Our brains are plastic, and with practice 98% of us are capable of becoming more empathetic. A growing bank of neuroscience research shows that literature is a key tool. The work of EmpathyLab is inspired and underpinned by the research showing that relating imaginatively to book characters builds real-life empathy skills.

EmpathyLab is working with schools including The Spinney, libraries and authors to test this approach: In today’s divided world, the need for more empathy has never been more urgent. Helping children put empathy into action will reduce prejudice, and build a more caring society.

Working with libraries, schools and communities EmpathyLab also co-creates an annual Empathy Day.  We celebrated Empathy Day at The Spinney as lead school of The Kite TSA worked in partnership with one of our neighbouring schools Bewick Bridge on  a wonderful Author Event with Ross Montgomery and Empathy Award winner presentations.

Three innovations you would love for HundrED to know about. (and Why?)

The Spinney is the lead school of The Kite Teaching School Alliance in Cambridge.  Our Teaching School Alliance is all about Creativity, Connection, Innovation and #JOY! We think that being a teacher is one of the best and most important jobs in the world and should be celebrated!

We have come up with an number of different innovations working in partnership with others. We love to co-construct innovations by working synergistically with individuals and organisations.  Another one of our sayings is #LetsInvolveEveryone!

Follow us on Twitter @KiteTSA

1. The Big Read and Write

The Big Read and Write is an annual literacy initiative for  children created by the Kite Teaching School in partnership with Cambridge Literary Festival. Schools from across the county are invited to bring classes to a live author event at Lady Mitchell Hall, part of Cambridge University OR join via the live webcast. In addition to the 400 children in the hall, there are a further 2500 more children participating in their own schools thanks to the online streaming of the event. The Big Read and Write has been proud to welcome a number of celebrated authors  to take part including Jo Cotterill, author of A Library of Lemons  who is a supporter of Empathy Lab.  During the presentation  Jo explored the concept of Empathy (the theme for 2018), shared her storytelling tips and also launched a county-wide story writing competition for all of Cambridgeshire’s Year 5 children. As this is in partnership with publishers there was a fabulous prize for the winning writer and their school comprising a huge box of books for the winner as well as whole class sets for the school! This fantastic initiative encourages children’s love of the written word and is a collaborative project between The Kite TSA Cambridge, Cambridge Literary Festival and Cambridgeshire County Council. Follow us on Twitter @bigreadandwrite

2. Family STEAM Festival

The Family STEAM Festival (organised by The Kite TSA Cambridge) aims to support schools in their efforts to improve parental engagement in children’s learning. This is a FREE annual event at The Spinney Primary School which is open to all Cambridgeshire families and focuses on promoting and raising aspirations across the STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths). There are a number of creative and technology companies in and around Cambridge City and in addition to promoting Family Learning and parental engagement the Family STEAM Festival gives children introductory experiences into STEM Learning and is one way to "fix the wobbly bridge between education and employment."   This is a highly successful festival attended by well over a thousand children and families and is co-constructed in partnership with local businesses and organisations. The children are given maps to ensure that they engage with the various STEAM activities on offer and there is a prize for each child when they leave. Family STEAM Festival activities include 3D Printing, Brain Maps, Fun Physics, Wood Carving and Rocket Launching.

Follow us on Twitter @FamilySTEAMFestival

3. The Cambridgeshire Festival of Education 

The Cambridgeshire Festival of Education or #CambsEdFest as it also fondly known, is an optimistic celebration of teachers and teaching that brings together researchers and academics together with classroom practitioners.  Currently supported by funding from the Cambridgeshire School Improvement Board, The CambsEdFest takes place at The Faculty of Education University of Cambridge in the summer term. It is attended by 350 delegates and speakers from the county and beyond. Our branding for the #CambsEdFest is optimistically unique, encouraging teachers to be #FlamingosOfHope and not Lemmings of Despair.   This whimsical motif sets the exuberance and tone of this #Joyful event which aims to inspire, inform and support teacher colleagues not only to be the best that they can be but to transfer the #JOY into their own classrooms and into the lives of their students!

Our next #CambsEdFest takes place on the 12th June 2019.

Follow us on Twitter @CambsEdFest