Coaching & Leadership Development
How Headteachers can develop their Emotional Resilience

How Headteachers can develop their Emotional Resilience

  With the increasing pace of change in our schools and heightened levels of public scrutiny and accountability, it takes a great deal of courage and bravery to be a school leader today.   There are many joys involved in the role, but equally as many challenges. It is not until many school leaders reach headship, that they realise that the stresses of the job are such that they need to strengthen their emotional resilience in order to both thrive and survive.   One of the reasons is, the rules of the game keep changing.  As a result, school leaders become unsure of which rules to play by.   Imagine saying to a child, “Today I am going to teach you how to play tennis” and every time they thought they had mastered how to serve and felt confident in their own abilities [ based upon what you had told them] you then said to them “No, you’ve got it wrong. You now have to do it this way.”   Not only would they soon learn not to trust you, but also, they would never develop the depth of experience, knowledge and insight needed for them to become expert in the game. This is exactly what life is like for many school leaders today.   When we are unsure, we feel insecure. We don’t feel safe. Feelings of confidence, value and self-worth are replaced with feelings of fear, vulnerability and self- doubt. We begin to question our every thought, our every action, because we are never given enough time to ascertain whether they fit with the rules of engagement....
Redefining Leadership: The Death of the “Hero-Head”

Redefining Leadership: The Death of the “Hero-Head”

This blog comes from Headteacher of Brundall Primary School, Rick Stuart-Sheppard.   What is being a leader?  What does leadership actually entail? How much does our perception of what a leader looks like simply depend on our age, generation and unquestioned stereotypes?   I’ve been pondering this because I’ve never felt comfortable hanging my suit on the hanger of Headteacher as Hero-leader or “SuperHead”. This is not because I haven’t known some heroic heads doing wonderful things in challenging situations. But rather because there’s always more to them and what they were doing than being a Sheriff walking into town, brandishing a six-shooter and announcing ‘this is how it’s going to be in my town from here on.’ *Pause for blowing the smoke away from the barrels.*   This conception of the Head as Hero has been on the rise for many years now, intensified by the drive towards academisation. Indeed, Mr Gove is alleged to have remarked he would have liked to clone a particular favourite Head of his 20 000 times and this would be progress towards solving educational problems in the UK.  He also picked another ‘hero’ Head to lead Ofsted, with painful results.   A different view of leadership has further deterred for me this idea of a Hero-Head and crystalized my thoughts.  Back in October, I encountered Geoff Mead (author of ‘Storytelling: The Heart and Soul of Leadership’) at the “Education for the Soul” Conference run by Integrity Coaching.  In reading Geoff’s book after the event, I was struck by a definition of leadership that he put forward, namely that leadership involves ‘making meaning...
5 Most Popular School Leadership Blogs of 2018

5 Most Popular School Leadership Blogs of 2018

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 bloggers and leaders within education sharing their brilliant insights with us around leadership, well-being and school performance in our weekly blogs. So with not long left in 2018, we thought this would be a great opportunity to look back to some of our most widely read blogs of the year… 1) “How 12 Years of Headship Changed Me” – Geraldine Foley     In this touching story, Cardiff Headteacher, Geraldine Foley shared openly and honestly the struggles she experienced in her role several years ago. In the blog, Geraldine poignantly recounts how by giving so much of herself into the role on a daily basis and putting her well-being last, she began to lose touch with her friends and even herself. “That’s what twelve years of headship had done to me. I became the shadow of the person I used to be. I tried to hide it from everybody, from my family to the people at school. I managed to keep a lid on it, but then it started to unravel…” She describes how ending up in hospital with black-outs made her realise things had to change, seek out coaching and make real changes to her life – and the transformational impact that these had on herself and in her school.   Read more 2. “Returning from Maternity Leave was my Hardest Challenge – Secret Headteacher     This secret Headteacher blog came from...