Centre for Mindful Educational Leadership

Mindful Support Network Partnership with the Centre for Mindful Educational Leadership

Director Tim Saunders PhD

Pathway Leader for MA (Education) Leadership and Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education, Edge Hill University


ELD: Educational Leadership and Management





Sustainable Leadership for Planetary Flourishing

ESD: Education for Sustainable Development





Sustainability Education for Regenerative Futures

RWE: Religion and Wordviews Education





Sustainable Spirituality for Wicked Problems

P4C: Philosophy for Children, Colleges & Communities





Communities of Inquiry for Sustainable Thinking



Mindfulness-based Leadership Development

Integrating Life Coaching, Leadership Coaching and Academic Coaching


Integrative Leadership Framework

Integrating Indigenous, Traditional, Modern and Postmodern Worldviews


The Educative Middle Way

Integrating Personal, Pedagogical, Professional and Planetary Development


Model of Mindful Reflective Practice

Grounding reflective practice in Meditation, Integration, Mediation and Regeneration


Dr Tim Saunders 



I first came to live in the north west of England as a student at Manchester University in 1985 and having lived and worked nomadically here ever since, I eventually settled in Liverpool, a stone’s throw from the Mersey estuary.  I count both city regions home and it is the living waterways of the Mersey rivers, many streams one river, that define this bioregion and ground my one planet thinking and living theory.

Mindfulness Practice

In order to maintain my own personal mindfulness practice I have followed three life practices for a number of years:

• Practice 1 Mindfulness-based Compassionate Living and self-directed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy

•Practice 2 Sufi meditation as a path to mindfulness, living presence and the essential self via the most beautiful names – Al Asma Ul Husna (أسماء الله الحسنى)

• Practice 3 Yang Style Tai Chi, (24 step Taijiquan otherwise known as the Beijing form, the most prevalent simplified exercise form in China) and Ba Duan Jin Qigong 八段錦 (8 Pieces of Brocade)


Educational Experience

I have a wealth of experience that includes Primary School teaching (7 years), Headteacher (14 years), University lecturing (8 years), Thinking Skills training in schools (10 years), and Organisational Development Consultant (6 years).

Academic Qualifications

I have taken a BA Hons in Theology and Religious Studies (Manchester University),  MA in Educational Management (Open University), PhD in School Leadership (Liverpool University). My teaching qualifications include a PGCE Primary (Manchester University), PGCert ODE Online & Distance Education (Open University) and PGCTHE (Edge Hill University).


I do not adhere to any one school of philosophy but support the revival of philosophy as a way of life  and have affinities with the traditions of American Pragmatism, Russian Personalism, Nordic Metamodernism, English Pluralism, Andalusian Sufism and buddhist influenced Middle Way philosophy. Those who have most inspired the educational thinking that informs the multimodal practitioner synthesis include John Heron, Walter Watson, David Dilworth, Matthew Lipman, Kieran Egan, Michael Schiro, David Cooperider, Bruce Tukcman, Daniel Goleman, Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn, Tony Bush, Mike Bottery, Annick de Witt, Tony Hodgson, JG Bennett, Hanzi Freinacht, and Arnim Wiek. The map of practices was inspired by the Personal Synthesis of Nash Popovic. My inspiration for developing ‘middle way philosophy of education’ derives from the work of Robert M. Ellis.

Academic Research

I created EduSynthesis to support academic research in mindful leadership theory and integrative leadership for learning. The Integrative Leadership Framework seeks to construct Educational Leadership as the intercultural mediation of Kinship, Traditional, Modern and Postmodern Worldviews in a time of culture wars; and as the moral interdependence of Generative, Contemplative, Progressive and Transformative practice in a time between worlds.

The Mindful Leadership Development meta-model seeks to integrate Somatic, Contemplative, Cognitive and Organisational forms of Mindfulness as a means of supporting mindfulness-based compassionate leadership development and school development: mindful coaching for the wellbeing of leaders and coaching in mindful leadership for the wellbeing of schools.

The Multimodal Practitioner Synthesis of the Educative Middle Way aims to model how practitioners can develop their own big picture synthesis of educational theory by mapping modalities and modes of integrative practice at four different scales: personal, pedagogical, professional and planetary.

Mindful Support Network

Beyond higher education and postgraduate leadership development, the Centre supports a mindful support network for anyone in the community interested in developing mindful-based practices with the support of peers. In addition to my academic and educational qualifications I am affiliated with Co-counselling International (UK), having undertaken the minimum 40 hours training to practice as a Co-counsellor and an additional 80 hours co-training other coco practitioners.

I am also a certified teacher and practitioner of the Narrative Enneagram having completed the professional training program with Helen Palmer and David Daniels in 2007. This involved 270 hours of professional training encompassing Foundation, Typing Practitioner and Panel/Teacher training, plus many hours of practice.

In the UK I am affiliated to Enneagram Alive and subscribe to its Code of Ethics and am a participant in the Independent Practitioner Network.


Riverine locations where Tim has lived, studied and worked in the Manchester-Mersey bioregion

Musing on the Mersey : Diary Fragment: November 2020

Fate would have it that the Mersey and all her tributaries have claimed me, not me the river; channelling this liquid-modern nomad from source to sea. Many streams I once dimly thought disparate but now realise to be one living river, connect me to the places I’ve lived and people I’ve loved over my working life.  As teacher, headteacher, now lecturer. From the River Sett to Goyt and River Tame to Irwell. From the River Bollin running eventually, unimagined by locals, to the mouth of the Mersey. Afon Merswy, as those with longer memories  remember her in the tongue of the Old North, on whose banks I’ve washed up for now, somewhere muddy between worlds. A confluence of otherwise coincidences. From here she flows out to Liverpool Bay and into the Irish Sea of joined-up shores and isles of shared humanity before nations were, urging in the surging of wave more mingling than enmity. As far as the Liver bird flies out beyond Eire or the worker bee dances inland. Here before me in the moonlight is Mǣres, ‘boundary river’ in Anglo-Saxon, blatantly misnamed because she’s the lifecourse, of course, that connects us more than any border she once marked. Gazing across to the Wirral from Aigburth I wonder, are we more lost than we think if we don’t happen to know the current whereabouts of her nearest waterway to us right now. Does our sixth sense harken to her Sat Nav free navigation? Do we feel for her flow? I find I get my bearings better when I’m mindful of her presence and less absent when I remember she’s near. Grounded by water. Variously known in different parts, merely as Otters’ pool by some or Atlantic gateway more grandly, both slave-market docks and mill-town sewage, cloud-clad brook and seafarer’s haven. I sense both the pure spring and upland drain in our archipelago vein. Whether we’re on the frayed coastal edge of her effluence or hale from the high moorland hills of her rising in Pennine drizzle, some of us minded her rivercide by poisoning and tend her birthing still. To think is to thank, for the life-giving sustenance of this great water-dwelling we take for granted, without whom this life-place is a wasteland, as fond to wayward hearts abroad as the hearth-path home, upstream or down.

Tim Saunders, Aigburth, 2nd Lockdown 2020

© 2024 Mindful Support Network

Community education in Mindfulness, Wellbeing, Resilience and Sustainability in partnership with the

Centre for Mindful Educational Leadership



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