Coaching & Leadership Development
Keeping school leaders
hope alive today, for
our children’s hope of a
better tomorrow.
4 Tips to Better Self-Care as a School Leader

4 Tips to Better Self-Care as a School Leader

The press, media and study after study tells us that Headteacher recruitment and retention is in crisis, nevertheless there are many things school leaders can do to make sure they’re not another one of those burnout statistics. The NFER survey in 2016 showed that increasing numbers of Headteachers are leaving the profession before retirement age, with many articles and leaders themselves citing the intense pressures and challenges of the job, unrealistic targets, a loss of passion and a lack of support as responsible for this. Meanwhile, in a survey undertaken by the National Governor’s Association in September 2015, 43% of 4,383 respondents reported it was difficult to find good candidates when recruiting senior leaders for similar reasons. In light of this, perhaps it is no surprise that England could be facing a shortage of up to 19,000 senior teachers by 2022.

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What Every Headteacher should be told before they’re appointed!

What Every Headteacher should be told before they’re appointed!

  Recently, I’ve been pondering one question: How do Headteachers find the time and space to develop the aptitudes necessary to show up as their true authentic and best self, when they are in a profession that requires;   – A deeply forensic approach to the analysis of pupil outcomes – Lightning quick responses to demands of all kinds and, – Consistently high levels of visibility   The answer I most often hear in response to this question, is:   ‘There quite simply isn’t enough time to focus on me. I spend all of my time and more [i.e. evenings and weekends] focusing on school improvement, because that’s what I’m here to do – to focus on the children and teachers, not me.”   When I hear this response, I find myself thinking, that sounds just like me when I was a Head. When I was told only one side of the School Leadership Story.   It’s all about the job description, or is it?   Before I was appointed to my first post as a Headteacher around seventeen years ago, I read and believed that I fully understood the Job description and person spec. I wrote an application form that demonstrated my leadership skills, knowledge and experience.   I performed so well at interview [despite being eight and a half months pregnant], that I convinced the panel, I could do what the job was asking of me on paper and take the school out of Special Measures…   And therein lies the rub. Did you fall for it too? Did you mistakenly believe that when you applied for the Head... LEARN MORE
Are our Schools Broken?

Are our Schools Broken?

“There’s a crack in everything and that’s how the light gets in.” This being the famous line from the Leonard Cohen song, “Anthem”. When we look at our schools today, many will argue as I have done, that there are cracks, that there are major fault lines across virtually all aspects of our education system and that that it is near to breaking point. Yet increasingly, it would seem to me, that wherever there are cracks, there are lights, there are beacons of hope; individuals, groups and organisations who are daring to speak out, who are daring to come together to mend the cracks within our system.

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Understanding & Managing Emotions – What I’ve Learnt

Understanding & Managing Emotions – What I’ve Learnt

I believe I have always been fairly sensitive to other people’s feelings. This was confirmed once by completing the Myers Briggs Temperament Index. Though I don’t regret it, this sensitivity made my job as a school leader more difficult, not easier, especially as I didn’t know as much about emotions then as I do now. I see now that I was actually quite scared by very strong emotions in others, probably because, deep down, I was scared of some un-felt, un-processed emotions in myself. I would therefore often take refuge either in rationalising or closing them down altogether. However, through my TA psychotherapy training, I’ve learned that the purpose of emotions is to elicit understanding and evoke a response. It’s how babies learn to survive. How successfully we managed this in our infancy, with the vital involvement of our care-givers, will affect our attachment style (i.e. relationships) for life.

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Why Headteachers Need Different Support to Teachers

Why Headteachers Need Different Support to Teachers

Everyone can use support in their careers. But what many people don’t realise is that the further you progress in your career, the more support you need. Many assume that once you climb to the Head teacher post that. Either support is no longer required or you require a similar level of support to that received in previous posts. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, the role of Head teacher is markedly different from any other teaching or leadership post that you might have held; strategically and operationally, mentally and emotionally. It is for these reasons that Heads need support that is bespoke and tailored to meet the specific personal and professional challenges of the role.

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Why Even the Best Mentor is no Replacement for a Coach

Why Even the Best Mentor is no Replacement for a Coach

When you step into the Head teacher role, it is quite common for you to be offered a Mentor. An individual who has been there before, who can show you the ropes and who will share their wisdom, knowledge and experience with you. But… a Mentor is different from a Coach. A lot of people think that they do pretty much the same thing, but actually, a coach takes care of crucial support needs that a mentor simply isn’t trained for. Even the best school leadership mentor can’t replace the support you can get from a coach — and here’s why: You’re not your role; you’re a person in a role. Mentoring is fantastic for developing yourself in the context of your role. It’s largely focused on the external things, like developing your skills for operations, navigating your first governor’s meeting, preparing your reports. But it doesn’t focus on the inner growth that’s necessary to really step into your new role and make it your own. At best, it’s a fantastic way to learn strategies and skills.

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Why Heads Need to Learn to Share

Why Heads Need to Learn to Share

A while back, I attended a well-being conference for school leaders. An OFSTED inspector was one of the guest speakers. As the school leaders who were present aired their feelings about OFSTED and whether it was really fit for purpose, this inspector’s demeanour changed. Initially, he confidently told the audience what he believed they should be thinking and feeling about OFSTED. But he became nervous and agitated when the audience asked him to listen to their actual thoughts and feelings. It seemed that he was uncomfortable with the level of emotion in the room, and to have acknowledged that depth of feeling would have left him exposed and vulnerable. It is my belief that if he had dropped his guard – if only for a moment – he would have shown a more human side to OFSTED, which is what the delegates were desperate to see. Like all of us, they just wanted to be listened to.

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Why Budget Cuts hurt our Schools and their Leaders

Why Budget Cuts hurt our Schools and their Leaders

Earlier this year, the TES quoted a report by the NAHT that revealed, ‘65% of school leaders “strongly agree” that cutbacks have already had a negative impact on the performance of their schools.” In discussions related to the impact of spending cuts we have become used to reading about schools asking parents to contribute towards books and other essential supplies. We have become used to hearing about the pressure of increased class sizes, reduction in supply budgets and teachers taking on a raft of additional duties to cover posts that have been deleted. We hear all of this and quite naturally we understand how financial cuts have had a detrimental impact on the performance of many of our schools. However, there is an added dimension to the debate that is often missed. Since the global financial crisis austerity has been an ever-present part of the collective mindset.

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The 4 Skills of Authentic Leadership

The 4 Skills of Authentic Leadership

In leadership, we often talk about the need to be authentic, but what does this mean? At its root, authenticity involves being true to yourself and the essence of who you are as a person. Likewise, on a leadership level, it means making daily choices and actions that are aligned to your vision, values and your sense of vocation. Working with School Leaders, I have seen that when they lead with authenticity, integrity self-regulation and personal nourishment are hallmarks of their personal leadership style. The challenge is that in order for leaders to learn to lead authentically, they must first understand themselves. Because if we don’t know who we are, then how do we know when we are being authentic? Who is this person in this school leadership role and what is the basis of their decision making and relationship with others? To answer these important questions and help leaders develop the strong self-understanding that is essential for Authentic leadership, I believe there are 4 skills they must work on. Kamagra jelly worked for me in 2 hours and lasted until 16 hours. It is better to take it half an hour before lunch, it will digest before you go to dinner and will not mix with food for better results.

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Developing Resilient & Authentic Leadership

Developing Resilient & Authentic Leadership

I have worked as a Head for 20 years. I was appointed to my first post of Headteacher in 1998 after covering for a year for my substantive Head who decided to take early retirement after a bout of ill health. After 9 years, I then moved to one of the first Co-Headships in the Borough, for a period of 5 years and then onto a full-time role as Head in a different school for a further 5 year. I returned to a Co-Headship for my final year as a Head before I started working full time as a coach. Suffice to say, overall, I did enjoy the challenges of Headship. As a teacher I had had bucketloads of creativity, but realised as time passed in the early years, as a Headteacher, that my creativity had been squeezed, year after year, dampened by reports, data, and more. As I unpicked my thinking, I realised that I had also started to hide my authentic self. I found myself distancing myself from the staff and sharing less and less, eager to take on the perceived notion of what a Head should do. I spent more time at home working, rather than relaxing. As a Head with young children, I did not have any time for me and any downtime was napping in front of the TV. There was a distinct lack of creative endeavour. More worryingly, over the last ten years as a Head, I had very effectively stopped giving myself any time.

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The NEU offer Headteachers Free Coaching Support

The NEU offer Headteachers Free Coaching Support

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 membership. Yet we know with the deluge of change that has occurred over the past decade, the struggle to hold onto one’s values has become an increasingly difficult and lonesome task.

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How to make Christmas special at your School

How to make Christmas special at your School

I am the proud Headteacher of Parklands Primary School. We are situated in the middle of one of Europe’s largest council estates. We are the most deprived Primary school in Leeds with 82% Pupil Premium Children ….. but what does that mean? No hope? No aspirations? Poor exam results? A poor Ofsted report? On the contrary…. 82% Pupil Premium means we have to get it right for these children; we have to inspire, we have to sell the dream, we have to love, respect and make sure every child is valued, listened to and believed in….. and at Parklands we do just this.

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