Coaching & Leadership Development
Growing, Learning and Flourishing as a School Leader

Growing, Learning and Flourishing as a School Leader

  We believe when our school leaders grow, learn and flourish, our schools and pupils are supported to flourish too.   However, sadly the reality of Headship and the way that the education system is today can, at times, fail to properly support the flourishing of its leaders.   The life of a school Leader can easily become all-consuming and if leaders don’t take steps to support themselves in the role, even the most talented school leaders can lose themselves in their role and struggle to survive in the profession due to the intensity that comes with the complexity, public scrutiny and high accountability of being a Headteacher.   So what can we do to keep ourselves in the profession, make leadership more sustainable and above all, enable ourselves to grow, learn and flourish?   Well we posed this question to Co-Founder of WomenEd, Hannah Wilson and she explains that there are three main challenges that all School leaders have to overcome if they are to flourish in their roles…     1. Your Values being Challenged     The education system can at times, seem to push our school leaders to think and behave in ways that challenges their values.   I know that I’ve certainly had to draw on all my professional integrity and courage to whistleblow when I have begun to feel my values are being compromised.   Equally, when I have found myself in the wrong role, at the wrong school, in the wrong culture – I’ve had to walk away.   Some in the system seem to place more importance on results, OFSTED grades and league tables than the people behind it all.   So more than ever, as...
Why Education Needs Values & Integrity

Why Education Needs Values & Integrity

This blog comes from Founder of Values-Based Education and keynote speaker of “Education for the Soul” Conference 2017, Neil Hawkes   With many other people I am deeply concerned about the global turmoil that is destabilising our world. As someone I met recently in the US put it, ‘It seems as though human kind is going mad!”   We seem to be acting like lemmings about to rush over a cliff to our deaths. At a political, cultural and social level distress is clearly identifiable as the good of humanity and the world is set aside.   I notice that the level of unrest is increasing, as people feel that they do not have a voice that can be heard. Whether it is a presidential election or a referendum people of all persuasions seem discontent and have a tendency to vote from that basis.   My observation is that when individuals feel a sustained awareness of peacelessness, then this is translated into their behaviour, leading to the polarisation of political, religious, cultural and social identity.   The media is now often consumed with life-limiting messages, which encourage fear and distrust. Humanity is calling out for positive, altruistic leadership. However, where can this be found?   Although the problems seem intractable, I believe there is hope.  Many people seem to be waking up and saying, ‘enough is enough’.   To tackle this, we need schools that seek to enable children to have a moral compass based on positive human values that can form the foundations for transformational change.  We need to encourage adults and children alike to have a meaning...
The 3 Things that Education has Forgotten

The 3 Things that Education has Forgotten

“Developing a systematic way to help teachers get better is the most powerful idea in education today. The surest way to weaken it is to twist it into a capricious exercise in public shaming. Let’s focus on creating a personnel system that truly helps teachers to improve.” Bill Gates     Are we at a tipping point? Have we now reached a time where in our attempts to improve the education system, we can stop putting inspections and numbers first and say that people matter over and above everything else. Sadly, I don’t think we are quite there yet, but I’d like to think that change is in the air.   The continual reports on the teacher recruitment crises, increased rates of attrition will eventually cause politicians and policy advisors to hold their hands up and say, “We got it wrong!” I know, not many are prone to bouts of humility, but I remain forever an optimist!   There are many in the sector, myself included, who are saying, that politicians have indeed got it all wrong. My voice is one of many, but I have a voice and I intend to use it and make a case for that which I believes matters most in education.   In particular, I believe there are 3 key things that have been lost sight of in recent times have been and must be remembered and reclaimed by the profession for the benefit of our children’s futures…   1. We must remember our Humanity   How can it be that in this day and age, that the qualities that define our own humanity have...
Why Stories of Vulnerability Strengthen Education

Why Stories of Vulnerability Strengthen Education

Back in June 2017, I was moved to tears. Why? Because I read ‘Out of the darkness’. Not some a novel by an up-and-coming new writer, but Tom Sherrington’s poignantly, heart-rendering account of what happens to Heads when OFSTED decides they are not good enough. “You feel like a fraud, that you’ve let everyone down, that you shouldn’t have done this and should have done more of the other. Regrets? Oh yes, just a few! Anything good I ever did feels like it’s been shredded, tarnished if not erased … and that is hard to reverse.” It is rare to be as open and public as Tom was about his story of pain, loss and regret. In this age of high public scrutiny and personal accountability, it’s understandable. Heads worry. They worry about their reputations, what other people might think of them and whether they’ll ever be able to get a job again. But Tom shared his story and I genuinely believe in doing so, he helped to remind us all that school leadership is a humanitarian endeavour. When Tom talked of feeling, ‘isolated, trapped, drowning…tired; so deeply drained and tired”, he reminded us that Heads are not super-human and their well-being must be properly supported, if they are to fulfil the dreams that they hold for themselves and the communities they serve. In sharing his story, Tom has highlighted what I also believe is a great universal truth and is a pertinent message for our education system today. In the words of American author and researcher Brene Brown; “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always...