Coaching & Leadership Development
“Education for the Soul” 2019 Conference Manifesto

“Education for the Soul” 2019 Conference Manifesto

    I feel these days, amidst the growing results-driven culture of education today (with league tables and OFSTED ratings), that there’s often little opportunity for our schools leaders to discuss and share what they believe in.   There’s very little opportunity for leaders to reflect on what drives them, what informs their decision-making, and what inspires them to keep going.   There’s also barely any chance for them to discuss what it takes to lead and have deep conversations about how education should be and how we can give children the best possible chance in life.   So I thought I’d take this chance to share what I believe, in the hope that this inspires other leaders to revisit their hope for education…   I believe that our children learn from their teachers and school leaders, more than just what is written in their textbooks….   I believe when our teachers and school leaders have hope and a positive outlook, our children learn to believe in a better future.   I believe when our teachers and school leaders value and make their well-being a priority, our children learn to look after themselves.   I believe when our teachers and school leaders have their values nurtured, our children learn to live and stand up for what they believe in.   I believe that when our teachers and leaders are supported to lead with authenticity, our children learn to be truly themselves.   Above all, I believe when our teachers and school leaders flourish, our children flourish too.   That’s why on the 17th October 2019, we will be hosting our “Education for the Soul’ Conference...
What makes a Great School Leader?

What makes a Great School Leader?

  There’s plenty of advice out there about what makes a great school leader, from text books, certifications and seminars.   Often the advice focuses around what leaders should do, how they should behave and highlighting what are deemed to be outstanding leadership examples.   However, the more I’ve worked with school leaders – the more it has become apparent that there is no one-size fits all model of leadership.   What’s more, I’ve since learned that great leadership ‘cannot be reduced to a matter of technique or style’. Rather, it comes from the very identity and integrity of every individual who has chosen to take on the mantle of school leadership.   As such, rather than our current education system trying to mould our Heads into the leaders it thinks they ought to be, I believe we should be inspiring them to lead from within, from the very heart of who they are; through ways which tap into their own unique gifts,  their values and their own internal sense of purpose.   Here’s why…   1. Leaders are more able to make wise decisions   Most leaders are capable of wise decision making. However, the combination of unstable internal and external environments, often works against this happening as frequently as it should. Instead, leaders are often forced to be reactive in their decision making; time, events, their own thoughts and emotions do not stand still for long enough to enable them to access deeper, higher levels of thought and reason that lead to wise decision making.   Most learn to live with it, an unfortunate, but accepted consequence of the...
My Heartfelt Letter to Every School Leader

My Heartfelt Letter to Every School Leader

  It is our belief that if we are to create a stronger, more compassionate and collegiate education system, we must demonstrate greater degrees of humanity across the profession as a whole.   Over the last few years, changes to our education system, have resulted in values that are more akin to the business world shaping many of the policies and practices in our schools today.   Some have managed to navigate the changes successfully, for others it continues to be an uphill struggle. Sadly, shrinking budgets, growing workloads and rising personal accountability, have only served to exacerbate the situation and unfortunately, there are far too many school leaders who have chosen to leave the profession or have simply ‘disappeared.’   It never ceases to amaze me, that in a profession which is for many a vocation, we still have such a long way to go in ensuring school leaders are able to maintain their vocational vitality and purpose and hence stay in the profession for the long haul.   How wonderful would it be, if for every interaction within a school day, lesson observed and OFSTED visit, School leaders could truly say,   “That experience confirmed my purpose. That experience fueled me with energy and passion to keep on going!”.   If this were the case, we’d have a huge reduction in the high rates of attrition from the profession and instead we’d have a stronger, more resilient workforce, with individuals fuelled by a deep connection to their vocation and purpose.   The profession has to get better at creating meaningful ways for school leaders to maintain their commitment to...
What I learned at “Education for the Soul” 2018

What I learned at “Education for the Soul” 2018

  On 19th October 2018, we held our second “Education for the Soul” Conference. The theme for the conference was, “Creating new narratives for the school leader’s journey”.   Perhaps not your everyday common theme for a school leader’s conference, but if there is one thing we are certain about at Integrity, it’s that we are not going to follow the standard, traditional format for our conferences.   And so it was for 2018’s conference, that we chose to further support school leaders by enabling them to consider the role their stories play in their lives as educators. Our goal was to enable them to respond with as much certitude to the challenges of their roles, as Rosa Parks did in 1955, when she refused to succumb to the racist laws of the US government and instead, assert her right to;   “No longer act on the outside in a way that contradicts the truth that I hold deeply on the inside. I will no longer act as if I were less than the whole person, I know myself inwardly to be.”   Creating a space to be   At a time, when being seen to be busy is still equated with levels of effectiveness, this year’s Education for the Soul Conference provided further validation to the fact that this is an unhelpful paradigm to live by.  Perhaps, this is best captured by the words of a few of this years’ attendees:   “The conference addressed my soul (and heart) it gave me time and space to reflect” “I was given time and space for reflection! No me time in my...