Coaching & Leadership Development
How OFSTED harms the Emotional Health of our Schools

How OFSTED harms the Emotional Health of our Schools

    How many schools do you know that following an OFSTED visit, their staff have felt an upsurge in energy and have been inspired and motivated to carry out their roles with increased levels of passion and commitment?   If you know of any, I’d like to be introduced to them and to be told of their secret formula for overcoming the huge amounts of stress that OFSTED inspections induce.   Head of OFSTED, Amanda Spielman recently said that,   “There are quite a few heads in the system who write blogs that spin up levels of anxiety. It’s not just the various parts of government… there’s also a responsibility in the whole education system not to manufacture tension which shouldn’t be there”   In my opinion, these Heads that she refers to are not writing blogs to ‘spin up levels of anxiety or to ‘manufacture tension which shouldn’t be there’ they are simply writing to tell it how it is.   They are simply saying “We are human beings operating in a system that has yet to take full account of and understand the emotional impact that OSTED has upon us and our schools.   They are saying, “We need a relational model of school leadership/accountability that builds trusts and allows us to be autonomous in our decisions as school leaders.”   It’s a hard message for OFSTED to hear, but ask any Head and they will tell you that a culture of fear does exist and it not based on hearsay or myth. It is based upon their own experiences and that of many of their colleagues....
4 Ways to Look after Yourself Better this Year

4 Ways to Look after Yourself Better this Year

  After the end of each term or particularly at the end of every year, I think we can all find ourselves very much in a reflective mode.   Now it won’t surprise me, if in your reflections, you ponder on how tired and exhausted you have felt at times this term! I know back when I was a School Leader – that reality was all too familiar.   In education, we tend to slog through the term – seeing the holidays as our chance to get the renewal we need that can sustain us through the year.   However, I don’t think that has to be the case. Instead, I believe, by doing four key things to look after yourself better during term time, you can change the tone of your life as a school leader and keep yourself positive and full of vitality throughout the year.   If you have chance, I would really encourage you to take some time to reflect on these and these questions for reflection to help you find an answer that will help support your own self-care as you move into the new year…   1. Change your Mindset   If you really want to end each term feeling a little less tired and a little less strained then you have to begin with you; your own thoughts and the messages that you give to yourself about self-care. I have met far too many school leaders for whom their own self-care is not a priority.   They have developed a set of beliefs that has caused them to sacrifice their own needs in order to meet the needs of others. They have a belief that...
5 Most Popular School Leadership Blogs of 2017

5 Most Popular School Leadership Blogs of 2017

The end of the calendar year is always a great opportunity to reflect and be thankful for those who support and inspire you over the 12 months. This year, in particular, we’ve been very grateful and fortunate to have a number of fantastic leaders within education sharing their briliant insights with us around leadership, well-being and school performance in our weekly blogs. So with 2017 now coming to a close, we thought this would be a great opportunity to look back to some of the most popular of these blogs that have had a big impact on us and others this year…. 1) 7 Things Every School Leadership Team Needs – Tim Small In this wonderful blog, ex-secondary Headteacher and Integrity Coaching Associate, Tim Small, looks backs to his thirteen years of experience in School Leadership Teams in three different comprehensive schools.   Tim recounts the joy and companionship that comes with the collegiality and camaraderie of a successful School Leadership team but also how tensions within the team can frustrate attempts to collaborate productively and harmoniously. Reflecting on both these experiences, Tim diagnoses and shares 7 of the ingredients which helped create the collegial environment where all staff were motivated to work for each other and empowered to thrive…. Read more 2) Growing, Learning and Flourishing as a School Leader – Hannah Wilson  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...
The 5 Key Responsibilities of Every School Governor

The 5 Key Responsibilities of Every School Governor

This blog comes from ex-Secondary Headteacher, former Governor and Integrity Coaching associate, Tim Small.   As volunteers, usually with busy professional and personal lives of their own, governors are asked to carry a heavy responsibility.  How can they sort out the vital from the not-so-vital and focus on what matters most?  At the heart of that question lies the relationship between governance and leadership.   In three different roles, I’ve witnessed this relationship close to: as a Head, as a Governor myself and as an External Adviser for Heads’ Performance Management.  From all three perspectives, the relationship was ‘make-or-break’; it had the power either to drive or destroy momentum for improvement.   I believe it all depends how Governors understand and apply themselves to these five key responsibilities…   1) Setting ethos and values 2) Holding leadership to account 3) Balancing support and challenge 4) Distinguishing between help and interference 5) Taking responsibility for the Head’s wellbeing.   1) The school’s ethos and values are the governors’ responsibility, but how they’re arrived at will decide both their credibility and their impact.  When the process is genuinely inclusive, it harnesses all the energy of the community to a common sense of purpose.   In the Governor team that I belonged to, we initiated a simple but thorough consultation of every stakeholder group: pupils, staff, governors, parents and families and the local community, asking them (i) what they liked (about school), (ii) what mattered most to them and (iii) what they would change if they could, we gathered rich feedback for sifting, discussing and distilling on a training day.   The values statement...
How to make Christmas special at your School

How to make Christmas special at your School

This blog comes from Headteacher of Parklands Primary School and Passionate School Well-being advocate, Chris Dyson (@ChrisDysonHT)   I am the proud Headteacher of Parklands Primary School. We are situated in the middle of one of Europe’s largest council estates. We are the most deprived Primary school in Leeds with 82% Pupil Premium Children ….. but what does that mean?   No hope? No aspirations? Poor exam results? A poor OFSTED report? On the contrary, 82% Pupil Premium means we have to get it right for these children; we have to inspire, we have to sell the dream, we have to love, respect and make sure every child is valued, listened to and believed in… and at Parklands we do just this.   Our exam results sees us as the most successful school bar none in Maths, with the school in the Top 1% (we now have visitors coming from all over the country to see how we gained 65% at Greater Depth) and Top 5% in Reading and Writing. October also saw a visit from Ofsted, a visit which we loved every second of and a visit which rewarded every child and member of staff with an OUTSTANDING grade.   I believe this is a large part down to our whole school focus on well-being, something that for us is a year-long priority, but at Christmas, we like to go that extra mile to make children, staff, parents and the community smile. So how do we make Christmas special at our school?   For starters, any member of staff who needed to see their child/grandchild in their school nativity had...