Obstetrics for Schools

A guide to eliminating failure and ensuring the safe delivery of all learners

By: Rachel Macfarlane


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Products specifications
Attribute nameAttribute value
Size222mm x 182mm
PublishedApril 2021

In Obstetrics for Schools: A guide to eliminating failure and ensuring the safe delivery of all learners, Rachel Macfarlane presents a powerful manifesto for school leaders and teachers on how they can bridge the advantage gap and deliver positive outcomes for all pupils.

In most parts of the world, the death of a baby in childbirth is now a rare tragedy rather than a common occurrence – and it would be considered shocking for medical staff to accept a significant infant fatality rate. It's also inconceivable that a hospital would have a successful delivery target much below 100%.

How could anything else be acceptable in this day and age?

Yet there is an expectation, and acceptance, of 'baked in' educational failure for around a third of 16-year-olds in UK schools each year. Such outcomes need addressing, and this book does just that.

In Obstetrics for Schools, Rachel Macfarlane draws on her experience as a head teacher and system leader to share a multitude of practical strategies for overcoming potential barriers to success, presenting case studies and examples of effective practice from schools across the country.

The book illustrates an up-to-date and research-informed picture of the current state of the education system and offers sage guidance on how schools can do more for each and every student. In doing so, Rachel provides a range of fresh approaches to school provision which have been proven to have an impact in a variety of challenging contexts.

Each chapter focuses on a key potential barrier to success and offers school leaders and practitioners a range of strategies to help dismantle them. The book also provides guidance on strategic planning, as well as a variety of ideas and inspiration for staff training.

Suitable for school leaders and teachers in all phases, from early years to sixth form, and in both mainstream and special education.

Picture for author Rachel Macfarlane

Rachel Macfarlane

Rachel Macfarlane is the Director of Education Services at Herts for Learning having previously been head teacher at three contrasting schools over a 16-year period. Between 2009 and 2018 Rachel was project director of the London Leadership Strategy's Going for Great (G4G) programme, which involved working with leaders of outstanding schools to share great practice and produce case studies for dissemination to London schools.


  1. Obstetrics for Schools should be in every school and mentioned in all ITT courses! It is rare to see vison and determination bought together so successfully with practical advice, but that is what this book does. I am so pleased that it has been widely welcomed.

  2. Obstetrics for Schools is an excellent book packed with practical information directly relatable to all phases of education, in both mainstream and special settings. With chapters looking at areas such as poverty-proofing your school and preparing learners for successful transitions, there’s lots here for early years professionals too.
  3. Writing in a fluid style within an excellently structured text, Rachel Macfarlane hooks the reader into a thought-provoking and evidence-based journey highlighting practices that go a long way towards eliminating failure and ensuring the safe delivery of all learners. The book features an excellent bibliography alongside guidance for reflection and a variety of practical strategies to help schools get to the root of the problem of learner underachievement – which all make for stimulating and challenging reading. Those readers with experience of working in challenging educational environments or in communities of economic and/or social deprivation will find the sections on making a positive impact very supportive. I particularly enjoyed the section on ‘the elephant in the room’ and the in-depth analysis of outstanding work by growth mindset advocates such as Carol Dweck and Martin Seligman. It is significant that Rachel emphasises the benefits gained by replacing the word ‘ability’ with ‘attainment’ to promote learner feedback and self-belief, with the emphasis on raising the bar of attainment even higher with coaching terms such as ‘you’re nearly there’. Obstetrics for Schools is an excellent and practically formatted book which provides opportunities and guidance for team building based on the author’s valid experience and case studies to make higher attainment possible and rapidly motivate learners to reject any form of limiting mindset. Highly recommended for schools, colleges and teacher training centres.

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