Coaching & Leadership Development
Keeping school leaders
hope alive today, for
our children’s hope of a
better tomorrow.
4 Things School Leaders need in this Coronavirus Crisis

4 Things School Leaders need in this Coronavirus Crisis

It’s fair to say that even at the best of times being a Head is a stressful job. And now with the rapid outbreak of coronavirus across the world, the role has become far more complicated and stressful than perhaps had ever been thought possible. Today, many Heads find themselves having to sail previously uncharted waters; They are having to captain and lead ‘digital’ schools whilst simultaneously provide some type of specialised, alternative provision for children of key workers. It is schooling like many of us have never known before and it’s hard to say where it will lead. All we do know with any degree of certainty, is that at present, this is our new normal and it will require huge amounts of resilience, courage and flexibility to navigate these perilous times. It is in times such as these, when it can feel as though everyone and everything else is at sea, that Heads needs to be supported to literally keep their own heads above water and find ways to remain grounded.

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How to Lighten the Burden of School Leadership

How to Lighten the Burden of School Leadership

In every headteacher or school leader’s office, there is an invisible bucket of rocks. They may be squirrelled away under their desk near their feet or they may be up on a shelf, nestled amongst the folders and files. Sometimes, the bucket is almost empty; sometimes, the rocks can be seen spilling out over the rim of the bucket and gathering in small piles around its base. Some of these rocks are fragile and flinty, prone to breaking in sharp shards should they be handled in the wrong way. Some are barely more than clumps of sand, on the surface, seemingly firm and strong but ready to crumble under the slightest pressure. Others are shining polished glittering pieces of stardust, twinkling with promise; among the rest of the bucket are jagged and tearing pieces of layered rock, ready to skin your hands should you reach out to help them. Towards the bottom are endlessly heavy rocks, although small in size, dense and almost un-liftable, such is their deceptive weight. Between the bigger rocks lie multiple tiny pebbles, some beautifully smooth and polished, others spiky and rough. The bucket is invisible, yet it is carried everywhere the leader goes. Sometimes swinging the empty invisible bucket cheerfully as they go around their daily business and other days simply staring at the bucket, almost cowed by its weight and seemingly without the strength to lift it alone.

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What MAT CEOs need – The 5 Levels of Relationships

What MAT CEOs need – The 5 Levels of Relationships

From my early memory of working in a school I was told that the most important person in the building was the person with the biggest bunch of keys. For years, this person also proved to be my unofficial marriage counsellor as without them kicking me out of my classroom and locking the door behind me I wouldn’t have saved my marriage through those essential years; a period when building a family and a support network is often so essential for modern day professionals. I needed that balance between the world of work which I loved and the world of those individuals away from my desk at home. With regards the role I play today, I have come to realise that there are a range of relationship levels that a MAT CEO needs to establish to be successful…

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The 3 Steps to Surviving a School Crisis

The 3 Steps to Surviving a School Crisis

This Blog comes from an ex-secondary Headteacher, trainee therapist and Integrity Coaching Associate, Tim Small.    Many things can cause a crisis in a School, more often than not – they result from a set of circumstances which are often caused by things entirely out of one’s control as a school leader.  For example, I remember once suffering from a combination of a flu’ epidemic, a shortage of supply teachers and three long-term sickness cases on my staff all happening in the space of a week and it can catch you completely off-guard.   When this pressure is combined with a shift in your personal circumstances, a bereavement, a family sickness, even something as ordinary as a home maintenance crisis can cause serious psychological upheaval, if you allow it do so.   But how can you avoid this happening and what should you do if you find yourself in a situation threatened by a crisis that feels out of control?   Well I believe there’s three three things every School Leader should do if they want to survive a crisis like this unscathed….    1. Remember Your Oxygen Mask   Firstly, I have learned that how you feel is more to do with your inner state than what’s going on out there.  When I’ve slept well and feel physically and mentally OK, I somehow feel ‘bigger’ and problems seem ‘smaller’.  They even seem to matter less, although I am still driven to solve them as best I can.  The difference is that I have some energy to do so.  Fatigue, on the other hand, makes us turn in on ourselves and it becomes... LEARN MORE
What is a Coaching Relationship really like?

What is a Coaching Relationship really like?

Senior school leaders are in positions where their behaviours, words, actions and relationships are on constant public display. As a result, their lives are under constant public scrutiny. This in itself brings a unique set of pressures. School leaders have to learn how to manage both their private and public personas; in a manner that ensures they are able to maintain high levels of authenticity and a deep connection with their core values and what they stand for. When faced with challenging circumstances (which often arise on a daily basis) school leaders normally respond automatically to these situations with perceived expertise and aplomb. Responding to stress, responding to crisis, small and large that are not a part of the planned daily routine, soon become an accepted part of a school leader’s daily life. However, left unchecked, and without time to reflect on causes, impact and consequences of actions taken, these automatic behaviours can result in leaders becoming disconnected from themselves and in extreme cases, disconnected at various levels from those they lead and manage.

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How to Develop a Reflective Practice as a Headteacher

How to Develop a Reflective Practice as a Headteacher

As a Headteacher at an inner-city primary school, my to-do list is ever lengthening, so having enough time for strategic thinking and reflection can be rare. Each week I try to plan time in but if a child protection issue or something urgent crops up, it can’t just be ignored. External demands – such as the pressure to meet targets, changes in the curriculum, league tables etc – can also leave you feeling pulled in too many directions. That’s why I think one of the most significant things the training I’ve undertaken in my career is the importance of strategic thinking and reflective thinking. In secondary schools, a headteacher or principal will have a much bigger support network in their senior leadership team, allowing them to take a more strategic view. Meanwhile, at primary level, school leaders are much more involved in the day-to-day running of the school. However, whether you are primary or secondary Head, I believe a reflective practice should be the norm for school leaders. Here’s why…

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Dear New Headteachers – 7 Things You Should Know

Dear New Headteachers – 7 Things You Should Know

Dear New Headteachers, It seems a daunting task to be responsible for a large school of perhaps 1,000-plus young people, 100-plus staff, not to mention being accountable to the local authority, families, communities and inspectors – but it doesn’t have to feel that way. Here’s my advice to you. Create this vision for your school – know it, live it – and make everything you do be a step towards it. Every decision must be aligned with it. The full school community will be watching when you make a decision, therefore consistency is crucial.

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What is Authentic Leadership?

What is Authentic Leadership?

Leadership has never been a hotter topic. Distrust of those at the top seems to be at an all-time high, with politicians and high-profile chief executives repeatedly found to be lacking integrity. People want to be led by someone real; an authentic leader. But what does that mean? How do authentic leaders lead and behave? How can we distinguish the authentic leader from the tyrant? These questions are important when we are looking for the leaders of a country, but they are just as crucial when we think about the leaders of our schools.

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Why Robots can’t replace School Leaders

Why Robots can’t replace School Leaders

There is much talk about future thinking and future-proofing and there are lists of jobs which in the future may be completed by robot technology. Hundreds of thousands of people have read these articles, to see if their role falls under the remit of a yet-to-be-built robot. But there are some jobs that we cannot envisage being done by a robot, which is devoid of emotion, empathy and human characteristics. There are some things that simply require heart to be successful. Leadership is one of those.

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“Sustaining a Vital Profession” – Research Report

“Sustaining a Vital Profession” – Research Report

There is growing evidence of the deterioration of wellbeing amongst teachers and school leaders and a growing recruitment and retention crisis facing the profession. As recently as November 2019, Education Support published its Teacher Wellbeing Survey. In this survey, over 84% of senior leader respondents admitted to experiencing high-levels of stress from the role, with over 66% of senior leaders have considered leaving. The survey also highlighted the culture of overworking in the profession; 59% of senior leaders who completed the survey indicated they typically worked more than 51 hours per week. Meanwhile, 28% of senior leaders worked more than 61 hours per week and 11% working more than 70 hours per week. This situation further highlights the dire situation that faces the profession, which comes after the NFER report in 2017 found that headteacher retention rates have significantly fallen since 2012.

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The Headteacher Wellbeing Crisis in our Schools

The Headteacher Wellbeing Crisis in our Schools

With the recent publication of the Leeds Beckett University report into the impact of Leadership coaching in schools, we have undoubtably reached a point where the system as a whole, needs to recognise that the personal and professional development of Headteachers go side by side. As the report and others preceding it have cited, too many good Headteachers continue to leave the profession early or burnout, because the needs of the person in the role have been ignored. Coaching, as this report reveals, is an essential life-support system for our school leaders and must be recognised as such, if we are to enable our Heads to stay in the profession for the long haul.

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