Coaching & Leadership Development
Leadership Development Q&A

Leadership Development Q&A

Recently, I was delighted to be invited to a Q&A session by the Key for School Leaders. As part of this, school leaders from the Primary School Leaders Facebook group got the opportunity to ask some questions about school leadership and leadership development. There were a number of really great questions submitted by the group, and whilst I wasn’t able to address all of them – we were able to answer questions around several key topics such as: – How can new Headteachers ensure that their first term in the role is successful – How can Headteachers nurture strong working relationships with their Deputy Heads – How can school leaders reduce the workload of their team without putting more on their own plates – With falling budgets and redundancies looming, how can school leaders keep staff morale high Hopefully this podcast was useful in addressing some questions for you. If you’d like to explore any of the topics of the Q&A further or would like to discuss the challenges you’re currently facing, I’m now offering free “Coaching for the Soul” calls to provide you a space to do just that. These calls offer a safe space where you can… –  Talk openly and honestly about the challenges you’re facing –  Receive support and encouragement in your current situation –  Reflect on recent events and the impact they are having on you as a leader and as a person –  Gain clarity around your thoughts and plan a way forward Book Your Call Availability is very limited – so if you are determined to take charge of your own well-being, book today to avoid...
How to Develop a Reflective Practice as a Headteacher

How to Develop a Reflective Practice as a Headteacher

  This blog comes from the Headteacher of Randal Cremer Primary School, Jo Riley   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 I’ve learnt from 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…   1) It helps you to stay connected to their values and purpose   Since I’ve been trying to improve my reflective practice, I’ve revisited my values as an educator – why I’m doing this and what I want to achieve for the children. You need to be transparent about why you do what you do, and what you need from the school community.   Teachers and senior leadership teams work extremely hard, and working on something you don’t believe in will leave you burnt out or caught out.  ...
What is Authentic Leadership?

What is Authentic Leadership?

This blog comes from the principal of the British School Muscat in Oman, Kai Vacher (@PrincipalMuscat). An original version of this blog can be found here. 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. To thine own self, be true   The notion of authentic leadership is not new. Shakespeare was pressing the importance of leaders driven by ethical and honest morals more than 400 years ago. Whether it’s King Lear’s ego dividing his kingdom and family, or Macbeth’s maniacal hunger for power causing his own tragic downfall, we can see similar storylines playing out in the contemporary world. “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Shakespeare coined this definition of authentic leadership in Hamlet. There are many ways in which to interpret these words of wisdom. Mahatma Gandhi perhaps expressed the notion more clearly to the modern ear when he said: “When what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony – that is happiness.” Both Gandhi and Shakespeare seem to be commenting...
How to Lighten the Burden of School Leadership

How to Lighten the Burden of School Leadership

  The blog comes from Emma Turner (@Emma_Turner75), who is the research and CPD lead for Discovery Schools Trust, Leicestershire.    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.   Every time a person interacts with the school leader, they, like Hansel in the...
Why Robots can’t replace School Leaders

Why Robots can’t replace School Leaders

  The blog comes from Emma Turner (@Emma_Turner75), who is the research and CPD lead for Discovery Schools Trust, Leicestershire.    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. Leadership: Capturing hearts and minds   For anyone who has followed a sat-nav or become infuriated by the lack of nuance in a telephone voicemail menu, it is clear that there are some aspects of life that require more than a little humanity.   It is unlikely that the impassioned speeches of Martin Luther King or the kindness-driven changes implemented by Florence Nightingale would have made as much difference – however well-thought-through they were – had they not captured hearts and minds.   Leadership is about belief, and belief is about trust and connection and vision. However much we trust our computer systems, our sat-navs and our self-drive cars of the future, we cannot truly connect with them. They do not inspire us to go that extra mile or to give more of ourselves than we thought possible.   Computers do not inspire honesty or integrity or the vulnerability that leadership and change requires. They are blunt, binary instruments whose very function can be reduced to two simple digits....
What MAT CEOs need – The 5 Levels of Relationships

What MAT CEOs need – The 5 Levels of Relationships

This blog comes from the Chief Executive Officer of Folio Education Trust, Jonathan Wilden   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…   Relationship Level 1 – Who do I look forward to?   That person with the big bunch of keys could only achieve so much with regards to marriage guidance and so sadly in the process of being promoted and taking on more and more I lost my marriage. But in the years following this regrettable event, I made sure that I did not lose sight of my children; their development and the importance they have in my life. While I don’t necessarily wake up every morning in the same house as them now, they continue to give me personal significance at the start of every day. When I leave my house  and...