Coaching & Leadership Development
Keeping school leaders
hope alive today, for
our children’s hope of a
better tomorrow.
7 Ways to Succeed as a School Leader

7 Ways to Succeed as a School Leader

The demands on the shoulders of our school leaders has never been greater, with inordinate demands on time and resources distracting from the essence of the role. Amidst the heightened pressures and challenges, what steps can School Leaders take to succeed in their role? Firstly, many SLT members forego training for the sake of saving time and money. But professional and personal development need not cost the earth: sometimes it can be as simple as finding a course that suits you, reading an article or keeping up with inspiring educationalists on social media. After all, who wants to follow someone whose leadership has gone stale? So keep reading, learning and growing (all things we expect of pupils, lest we forget) and seek out anything that will keep you engaged.

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‘We must change our thinking about teacher wellbeing’

‘We must change our thinking about teacher wellbeing’

Five years ago, in October 2014, over 44,000 teachers responded to the Department for Education’s (DfE) workload challenge survey. As a result of feedback received, the DfE made commitments to establish key working parties to explore work-life balance and wellbeing around issues of marking, planning and resources and data management. And herein lies the rub; there is a gap in the knowledge frameworks that inform current wellbeing policy and initiatives. Much of the research and writings around teacher workload acknowledge that there is a wellbeing issue to be addressed, but very few solutions move beyond remedies for the observable aspects of the role i.e. marking, planning, displays, data management etc. It is my belief that discussions around teacher wellbeing do not go far enough and although well-intentioned, they will have minimal impact on increasing levels of job-satisfaction and related teacher recruitment and retention figures. To reverse the current downward trend, the profession has to view the current crisis through a wider lens. That lens has to take into account not only what teachers do – the observable aspects of the role, but also who they are and why they are in the profession.

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See the Light! – The Power of Story

See the Light! – The Power of Story

Storytelling has an immense value in its own right – not just as a means of developing language skills or improving literacy. If we think of stories as merely a means to an end, we undervalue their true power and significance. And just because a story isn’t true doesn’t mean it lacks truth. I never ever say, ‘Well it’s JUST a story.’ It’s MORE than a story! The stories we tell each other have the power to change our lives. But what about the stories we sometimes tell to ourselves? Like the one about not having this or that skill; about not being up to the task ahead; about being good at this but not at that; about being this or that kind of person – stories that can leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed.

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The Inner Work of a School Leader

The Inner Work of a School Leader

Contained within the wisdom traditions of North America’s First Nation people are many teachings that relate directly to leadership. A central teaching is that of the Twin Trail. Like so many other threads of wisdom emerging from indigenous peoples, the Twin Trail reflects a deep understanding of our human psychology. The Twin Trail refers to the inner life; that we all must attend to if we are to lead ourselves (and others) with integrity, authenticity and purpose. It also speaks to our capacity as humans to make moral choices. In a challenging encounter that I had with my First Nation mentors in 1998, the Twin Trail was described to me in this manner

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How to Overcome the Isolation of School Leadership

How to Overcome the Isolation of School Leadership

You will know, more than most, that sometimes headship can feel like the loneliest job in the world! There will be times, even when you are surrounded by a school full of children and colleagues who share the day to day tasks of leading and managing your school, when you feel as though there is absolutely no one that you can turn to. These are the times perhaps, when as a headteacher, you feel most vulnerable.

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The Conversations Every New School Leader Needs

The Conversations Every New School Leader Needs

Perhaps one of the most unenviable aspects of becoming a school leader is the fact that from day one, almost everything you either say or do comes under intense public scrutiny. The challenge of being under constant scrutiny for much of your working day is tough! It means that it becomes near impossible for you to find a quiet space where you can still your thoughts and make sense of whatever the day has thrown at you. In the hurly-burly of school life, when faced with challenging circumstances (which often arise on a daily or some-times even minute by minute basis!) you very quickly become adept at responding to events 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 your life as a school leader.

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How to Rebuild Your Leadership Confidence

How to Rebuild Your Leadership Confidence

It’s an understatement to say that life as a school leader can be bruising. The impact of the responses of disgruntled staff, a poor OFSTED report, complaints from parents or conflict with governors can send even the most resilient of leaders into a downward mental spiral. When negative events occur, your confidence can take at hit. You can begin to feel as though you are not up to the job for which you have been appointed. From my own experience working with school leaders, nothing can be further from the truth. Many, if not all, are still up to the role. It’s simply that they need to be reminded of their own power within and steps they can take to feel like their former, confident selves again. If you are feeling at a bit of a low ebb now, because of events that you are facing as school leader, set a few minutes aside to read this short blog. See if you can identify at least one step that you can take to rebuild your leadership confidence again.

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“Why I still have hope for our Education System” – James Pope

“Why I still have hope for our Education System” – James Pope

As I write this it is a cool spring day during the Easter holidays and I am sat in my newly created office, carved out of a basement room at my home. I imagine a collective professional mind, paused and taking breath, recharging the batteries, enjoying time with family, friends, perhaps sneaking in a holiday abroad or counting down the weeks until the summer one. This holiday is an odd hiatus to the frenzied school year. The majority of the year is done and yet the most pressurised period of time is still to come for students, their parents and school staff alike. The time left is short and for that we are relieved, and yet the time left is short and for that we are not relieved – another example of the contradictory nature of school life in the 20teens. For many it will be a period of reflection, looking for new jobs, promotion or a different challenge, finally deciding to take the plunge and retire – or just looking for a way out. At the Headteacher’s Roundtable conference recently I spoke of the moment, just over a year ago, where, commuting to work, at the end of another testing term, the Basement Jaxx song ‘Where’s your head at?’ blasted out of the radio, the song rattling around my head like an earworm, as it has done for the most of the past 12 months.

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4 Major Types of Educational Leadership

4 Major Types of Educational Leadership

There are four major styles of leadership which apply well in the educational setting. While each of these styles has its good points, there is a wide berth of variation, and in fact, transformational leadership is truly an amalgamation of the best attributes of the other three. So let’s explore how servant leadership, transactional leadership, and emotional leadership compare to transformational leadership…

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3 Things every Headteacher must Learn

3 Things every Headteacher must Learn

I have witnessed many a Headteacher brim with pride on appointment to their post; whether it be a first headship, second or third, there is always a sense of something great having been achieved. This pride often stems from an acknowledgment of the personal journey many have travelled to arrive at that place. It also stems from a hope and optimism about what they can achieve for the children and young people they have chosen to serve. Something that I have also witnessed is how ill-prepared our system is for properly equipping Heads, with the skills and knowledge for understanding the personal growth process that accompanies Headship. Scant attention is given to the psychological and emotional terrain that all will have to cross in order to successfully navigate the many challenges of the role.

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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 this year’s 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 this year’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.

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“Education for the Soul” 2017  – Conference Report

“Education for the Soul” 2017 – Conference Report

On the 19th October 2017, Head teachers & School Leaders from across the country joined us for our Inaugural “Education for the Soul” Conference. Our purpose was to provide a different type of school leadership conference; one that would provide a space for school leaders to explore new and sustainable ways of leading that would enable them to overcome the stresses of their roles and maintain their ability to lead and inspire others. Unlike other School Leadership conferences, the day aimed to provide a unique opportunity and space for… Reflection – Where leaders could be themselves and reflect with like-minded colleagues on the aspects of school leadership that mattered most to them. Learning – Where leaders could deepen their personal knowledge and gain a better understanding of how wellbeing contributes to personal performance and school outcomes. Creativity – Where leaders could explore solutions, practical ideas and suggestions for bringing their visions to life. Collegiality – Where leaders could laugh, share and have time to talk with others about how to achieve the very best for themselves and those they lead and manage

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