Rae Snape – The Spinney, Cambridge

Welcome to the fun filled world of Rae Snape which is filled with optimism and creativity; passion, connections and flamingos.


Rachel Snape has been the headteacher of The Spinney Primary School, Cambridge since 2007 and is a National Leader of Education.

The Spinney is a happy, welcoming, creative and OfSTED “outstanding” primary school.  In September 2014 The Spinney was designated a National Teaching School and is the lead school of The Kite Teaching School Alliance, Cambridge. Rachel loves the diversity of working in her many roles: with the learning community of her own school, with colleagues and the Local Authority as part of the Cambridgeshire School Improvement Board and as a member of the DFE’s Primary Headteacher Reference Group.  

Rachel is a positive and creative leader who is passionate about the transformative power of arts and culture. Her optimistic outlook and innovative style is built on a strong belief in the importance of connection.

You can find Rae on Twitter here @RaeSnape.


Here are three quotes, form the basis of Rae’s educational philosophy, are referenced early within the interview and are taken from The Spinney’s website:

“We want an education system based on hope not fear, one that appreciates the humanity of human nature.” Yong Zhao

“We can teach children that if they take care of their friends, they can achieve extraordinary things, not just in their own lives but for all humankind.” Ramon Flecha

“The aim of education is to enable students to understand the world around them and the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens.” Sir Ken Robinson

These themes permeate through our short 45-minute conversation which covers the following subject areas:

  • Flamingoes of hope and lemmings of despair
  • Why The Spinney was hailed as “forward thinking and outward reaching” by Ofsted.
  • The problem with blogging? How can you really be sure about what you are sharing?
  • Why partnerships and networks for schools are more important than ever
  • How you can engage learners in the election process
  • What winning my award for the “Most Active Headtweeter” does for Rae’s school and its pupils
  • Why everyone in education must find their mentors
  • The problem of teacher status within society
  • How Rae helps teachers to bring their best selves to school every day

I have great pleasure in introducing you to the insanely passionate headlearner and leader of the flamboyance, Rae Snape.


Listen to this episode on iTunes

Download the interview as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”


  1. The Spinney and The Kite Teaching School Alliance
  2. Whole Education and Ashoka Changemaker Schools are two key partnerships that Rae has formed
  3. Rae and her team at The Spinney are behind the Cambridgeshire Festival of Education on Saturday 1st July.
  4. Mind Up is Goldie Hawn’s project that helps children to understand how their brains work
  5. Michael Sani’s Bite the Ballot project is very relevant in the coming weeks leading up to the general election on 8th June
  6. Rae mentions Michelle Larbey and her phonics programme which helped The Spinney achieve 100% success rates last year
  7. An example of mentoring that Rae highlighted involved Silicon Valley supremos, Kim Scott and Sheryl Sandberg
  8. The Tedx talks that Rae encourages everyone to listen to are from Jaz Ampaw-Farr and Natalie Scott
  9. Tang Soo Do is the version of karate from Korea that Ra has a black belt in
  10. Misspent Ukes is what Rae gets up to in her spare time (Note – I did not ask Rae how she narrowly avoided getting arrested whilst filming a music video but I will investigate further!)
  11. Rae’s current read is The Empathy Instinct: How to Create a More Civil Society by Peter Bazalgette which references The Spinney
  12. Empathy Lab is a new organisation set up by Miranda McKearney OBE that is passionate about the creative power of words to build empathy, and the power of empathy to make the world a better place.

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