The imperative of transforming education continues to permeate the discourse of UK education reform. Although the Coalition government's publications herald a 'new school system', they reveal the same neo-liberal thinking as their New Labour predecessors. The context of the national budget deficit is now being brought to bear to promote greater effectiveness of the education system. Inherent in the Coalition strategy is a diminution of the vital role of teachers in bringing about profound change. This paper examines the notion of transformative change through the lens of George Herbert Mead's philosophy of evolution. Within this framework, transformation is a complex, emergent and unpredictable process that resists centralised control. Consequently, profound social change needs to be predicated on trust, conceptualised as a reciprocal relationship rooted in the acceptance of phenomena beyond our control.