Hilary Smith

Hilary is a recognised national school leader in behaviour and attendance (NPSLBA) and a qualified teacher coach.

Hilary Smith
Hilary Smith

Having recently retired as a teacher and lecturer, Hilary uses her extensive experience in early years and primary education, and her particular knowledge of working in challenging schools and communities, to provide consultancy and training on emotional well-being and resilience, attachment awareness, and the effects of trauma on development and learning.

During her long career as an educator, Hilary’s research interests focussed on emotional literacy, pro-social behaviour, and how to counteract the damaging consequences of disordered attachment and trauma. She was a contributor to the national research project ‘In Care, In School’, which provided teaching materials for mainstream and virtual schools on the experiences of looked after children; was a member of the original UK research team on emotion coaching, led by Dr Janet Rose; and contributed to the design of the pioneering Attachment Aware Schools project. She believes in the transformative power of collaborative recovery systems and is a passionate advocate for relational teaching and restorative approaches for all learners.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she co-authored a book entitled Relationship-based Pedagogy: Learning with Love which, as well as providing the combined knowledge and expertise of two highly experienced teachers, includes the most up to date research and evidence on how to best support children and families through challenging times.


2019-present: Education consultant and trainer

2013–2019: Programme Leader, Primary and Early Years PGCE

2006–2013: Senior lecturer in education

2001–2006: Early years behaviour consultant

1988–2001: Behaviour Support Teacher

1982–1988: Primary classroom teacher


M (Ed), University of the West of England, 2007

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Special Educational Needs), University of the West of England, 2001

Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Primary), Bristol Polytechnic, 1984

BA (Hons) Drama 2:1, University of Exeter, 1980


Relationship-based Pedagogy: Learning with Love (with Nicki Henderson) – Routledge 2022

“Behaviour for Learning” in Joliffe, W., and Waugh, D. (Eds), The Beginning Teacher’s Guide to Outstanding Practice – Sage, London, 2017

“Affective Teaching and the Affective Dimensions of Learning” (with Gilbert, L., and Rose, J.) in Ward, S (Ed), A student’s guide to education studies (3rd edition) – Routledge, London, 2012

“The Emotional Impact of Transfer: what can be learned from early years practice” in Howe, A., and Richard, V., Bridging the transition from primary to secondary school – Abingdon; Routledge, 2011

The Value of Emotional Literacy in the Early Years – M(Ed) Dissertation, 2007

Intervening Early (with Hutchinson, N.) – Fulton, London, 2004