It’s almost thirty years ago, when as a newly qualified teacher, I signed up to become a member of the NUT. Like many new teaching recruits, I signed up because I believed in the union’s values of equality, fairness and social justice.
These very same values are held by many Heads who still hold NUT (now NEU) membership. Yet we know with the deluge of change that has occurred over the past decade, many Heads now find themsleves struggling to hold onto their values and headship has subsequently become an increasingly difficult and lonesome task.
For many a Head, greater autonomy in decision making has led to increased levels of personal accountability and public scrutiny. A situation that has been compounded by the diminished capacity of LA’s, to offer care and support for school leaders.
As a result, there has been a marked demise in the care, trust and integrity with which Head teachers are treated.
Heads need Proper support
As the attrition rate for Head teachers leaving the profession continues to rise, it is clearly evident that new approaches need to be adopted for enabling Head teachers to rise above the challenges of their roles and maintain their ability to lead and inspire others.
It is our belief, that if things remain as they are, a passion for excellence, rigour and high standards will increasingly be seen as being mutually exclusive to compassion, humanity and hope. We do not believe that these values are distinct and separate from one another, but rather mutually supportive and symbiotic.
Making the leadership load lighter to carry
Whether Heads are new in post or well established and long serving, too often the predominate type of support that they receive is that which is concerned with meeting the strategic and operational aspects of the role.
Their emotional and psychological needs are often neglected, and this is where support fails, because the system has yet to recognise that wherever Head teachers are in their careers a new paradigm needs to be established to:
“… Address leadership in a more fundamental way and attack the foundation belief that we are somehow rational computer like beings and deal with the whole person.”
Support must be given to Head teachers to allow them to explore core aspects of personhood i.e. what it means to be human and how these aspects relate to their own experience of school leadership
If we accept that Head teachers set the tone for the cultures of their schools, then we have to accept that it is their emotional needs that must be met to facilitate the creation of positive school cultures in which all members of the community thrive.
Coaching offers a unique and deeply personal form of support that helps Heads to sustain high-levels of personal performance. The coaching relationship enables individuals to stay connected to their values and stay true to their vision. Coaching provides school leaders with a safe, confidential space where:
– They can share their thoughts, fears and concerns
– Explore issues that are of key importance to them
– Discover bespoke solution for challenges within their own context
– They can renew their self-belief and levels of confidence
– It is possible to create new and healthier habits for living the role of Head teacher
Our children deserve the best and given the pivotal role Head teachers play in protecting our children’s’ futures, we believe they deserve the best care that can be provided. As doing so, safeguards their ability to fulfill their vision and in turn the hopes and aspirations of future generations.
The Business world has long realised that coaching is essential and has invested heavily in providing this as an entitlement for leaders. In 2014, research from the Henley Business School found that 83% of organisations intended to use coaching for executive and senior managers.
Fully Funded 1:1 Coaching Support
In Education, I believe there has never been a more important time to take this good practice from the business world to help provide the type of support that our Head teachers are clearly in need of.
I am therefore delighted that in partnership with the NEU, Integrity Coaching is able to offer fully subsidised coaching support for NEU members for the 3rd year running. Particularly at a time when school budgets are under considerable strain, this is a real blessing for many Heads who might otherwise not get the support they need.
What have Heads said about the coaching offer?
Below are comments from Heads who were a part of the pilot in 2017…
“I hadn’t realised until now, just how important it is to have a safe space to talk about my feelings and the stresses of the role. God knows where I would have been without it!”
“Coaching has given me more than I had anticipated or expected. Invest in yourself. It’s worth it. It has helped me to overcome what can sometimes feel like the most isolating job in the world.”
“Even if you run an Outstanding school there is so much to be gained from coaching. I am very grateful to the NEU for the opportunity”
What do Heads on the programme receive?
As part of this programme, NEU Heads will be offered…
– A Half Day Introductory group session: Three course meal, breakfast, lunch and overnight accommodation if required.
– Face to face support: Six, 2-hour coaching sessions across the duration of the school year
– Telephone Support: Three coaching telephone support calls
– A Half Day closing group session: Three course meal, breakfast, lunch and overnight accommodation, if required.
How to Apply
If you want to be supported to:
– Overcome the isolation of Headship
– Build your resilience
– Maintain your passion and commitment for your role
Then saying “Yes” and taking advantage of this amazing opportunity couldn’t be simpler.
Fill in the form below answering the Following 2 Questions: If you are interested simply answer the following two questions in no more than 750 words.
1. What have been the main challenges that you have faced since becoming a Head teacher?
2. What are your hopes for the coaching relationship and what do you see as being potential benefits for yourself and the school?
Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about the programme, what’s involved and whether it could support you in your role, simply follow the link below…