Coaching & Leadership Development
Governors – What’s Your Headteacher Wellbeing Strategy?

Governors – What’s Your Headteacher Wellbeing Strategy?

  This blog comes from ex-Secondary Headteacher, former Governor and Integrity Coaching associate, Tim Small.   As a school governor, responsible for the strategic direction and educational and financial health of your school, how much value do you place on your Headteacher or Principal?    How dependent would you say the school is on this person’s capacity to show up every day, take in information, think and articulate clearly, perform at a high level, stay calm and stay sane?   Here’s another, more scary way of putting the same question; do you know what it costs a school when a Head or Principal is unable to sustain the role due to stress-related sickness?   Thirdly, then, do you take as much care of your Headteacher’s wellbeing as you do of the school’s finances?  If not, why not?  And how might you do so?   Here’s a proposal to kickstart your Governing Body discussion of this agenda item: How do we take care of our Headteacher’s wellbeing?    Proposal   First of all, agree a four-stage plan based on these principles:   Principle 1: Assign responsibility (i.e. appoint a link governor to oversee the process)   Principle 2: Audit the current situation and monitor the future, as it develops   Principle 3: Convert information into appropriate action (i.e. agree an action plan based on your findings   Principle 4: Invest to save (i.e. allocate a budget line to ensure it happens)   What might an audit look like?   This would need to be checked out with the person concerned, but here’s a suggestion:   Two key questions need to be asked. ...
What Anti-Racist Headteachers do Differently

What Anti-Racist Headteachers do Differently

This blog comes from Professor in Education Leadership and the director of the Endeavor Antiracist & Restorative Leadership Initiative at  Columbia University, Mark Anthony Gooden.   What does anti-racist school leadership look like? And why would you, a Headteacher, want to pursue it?   These are questions at the heart of my long time work with school leaders. An anti-racist Headteacher commits to seeing how race is used to isolate, disadvantage, and make power inaccessible to Black people and other people of colour in schools.   An anti-racist Headteacher is alert to unequal outcomes since he or she knows that race or culture neutral policies are not enough to level opportunities across racial, cultural, and linguistic groups. An anti-racist school leader’s work must rest upon a strong moral foundation.   These are difficult times, yes. But in the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “The time is always right to do what is right.” With that perspective, the anti-racist Headteacher works to dismantle racism in schools.   He or she supports and shares power with her staff, youths, and families, especially people who have been deemed “minorities.” In those ways, he or she strengthens a sense of belonging and encourages contributions from across her staff, helping to make the school a place of both equity and excellence.   To have impact as an anti-racist school leader, a Headteacher must abandon the idea of merely being good and start doing good. It’s not enough to say (or think): “I am a good person because I don’t speak those nasty racial epithets like a 1960s bigot.” I call this kind of a position “non-racist” leadership.   It’s...
Race in Schools – Why Being a White Ally isn’t Enough

Race in Schools – Why Being a White Ally isn’t Enough

  This blog comes from racial equity consultant, trainer and founder of MA Education Consultancy, Dr Muna Abdi.   What I have found over the last few months; in the wake of the George Floyd murder and BLM campaigns, is a surge in organisations wanting to ‘have the conversation’, about allyship.   There seems to be a willingness now to ‘hear out’ black people’s experiences and ‘do better’ to support them, and this is great, but it is only a fraction of the work that needs to be done.   For structural and systemic change to happen, white colleagues and institutional leads need to carry the burden of racism. They need to openly and honestly unpack what it means to be white, to have white privilege, to work within a system of whiteness. For white people to truly do antiracist work and to be effective allies, they have to look at their own encounters with the system.   Racism is not a black problem, but more often than not it is PoC who carry the burden of both enduring systems of oppression and trying to educate those that actively benefit from these systems.  Antiracism work cannot and should not be the sole responsibility of PoC, this work requires active allies to work in solidarity with us and to carry this burden of responsibility. A black person should not have to tell you of your own privileges.   Allyship is a lifelong process and a commitment to building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability. It is not self-defined work and efforts must be recognised by those you are seeking to ally...
Tackling Race Equality in Schools – Press Release

Tackling Race Equality in Schools – Press Release

  Integrity Coaching, the UK’s leading provider of coaching services for school leaders established by Viv Grant in 2008, has launched a new programme designed to help schools and trusts address institutional bias and drive social change.   Nearly one-year on from the death of George Floyd and inspired by the subsequent work of the Black Lives Matter movement, Integrity’s ‘Race, Identity & School Leadership’ programme is designed for senior leaders who wish to engage in conversations about race equality and achievement, supporting them to create change for their schools, themselves and their communities.   Despite the efforts of school leaders and politicians, inequalities remain a key barrier to the success of many schools. Black Caribbean children remain consistently the lowest performing group in the country (Demie & McLean, 2017).   More than half of BAME teachers report experiencing discrimination and harassment as a result of their ethnicity (Visible Minorities, Invisible Teachers report, NASUWT, 2015). The Timpson Review of school exclusion concluded that institutional racism in schools results in discriminatory practice and shapes teachers’ expectations of behaviour (Timpson Review, 2019). 85.9% of teachers and 92.9% of headteachers in state-funded schools in England are White British, compared to 78.5% of the working age population (Institutional racial discrimination in schools report, Social Market Foundation, 2020).   Director of Integrity Coaching, Viv Grant commented:   “The profound global response to the death of George Floyd in May last year has thrust race equality and social justice firmly back into the public consciousness, and communities are looking to public figures to take the lead in social change” “As a Black woman and former...
Why Schools Fail to Tackle Racism

Why Schools Fail to Tackle Racism

  This thought piece comes from former Headteacher, executive coach and Integrity Coaching Associate, Claire Stewart-Hall   We have all learned to avoid talking about race in English schools.   We can talk about it in deficit, this child can’t do this or can’t do that… this intervention is needed… but there is a gap in professional teacher discourse about the role race and identity have in everyday school situations and school structures.   What if professionals felt uncomfortable voicing the concerns they had about dynamics that masculinity or femininity were having on teenagers or reception children? Imagine if we chose not to be conscious of contesting, questioning and countering gender stereotypes of children and the impact of our own gender in situations as professionals?   If we chose to ignore the different effects of gender when dealing with behaviour or in safeguarding? It would lead to multiple professional misinterpretations and mistakes. We would be neglecting to prepare children to become their future selves and not understanding the many layers of a child’s social reactions to teacher-student/student-student situations. Surprising then, that white teachers and leaders ignore the role of race in everyday school dynamics.   No Problem Here? In fact, there is such silence about race in schools that it is now a gaping hole in our professional toolkit. It is rarely included in professional development because we don’t know how to talk about it or even voice that we can’t talk about it. Perhaps this is because there is an acknowledgment that most white staff feel so unequipped to unpick the role their own racial identity is having. Perhaps white teachers...
How does Coaching support School Improvement?

How does Coaching support School Improvement?

This blog comes from our associate coach, organisational expert and former school governor, Ben Gibbs. ‘The fallacy of rationalism is the assumption that the social world can be altered by logical argument. The problem, as George Bernard Shaw observed, is that “reformers have the idea that change can be achieved by brute sanity”.’ Michael Fullan (1991)   One of coaching’s greatest achievements over the last 30 years is to have moved the focus of leadership development from an over-emphasis on decision-making and rational authority, towards a model which prioritises understanding and empathy; from IQ to EQ (emotional intelligence), if you like.   Arguably, one of coaching’s greatest strengths is its focus on the individual and the development of their personal and professional capacity; it’s ability to provide a space in which the soul can emerge as a guide to practice.   It is possible as a coach, however, to go further than this, and to have an impact beyond the individual. Coaching can be used as a form of organisational consultancy; of school improvement.   Present challenges   The challenges faced by all organisations – including schools – which operate in contexts defined by the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of the 21st century, cannot be addressed by heroic individual leaders.   In fact, the speed of technological, environmental, economic and organisational change makes a mockery of the very idea of the heroic leader; that lone ranger, setting an example through individual endeavour and inspiring followership through sheer force of personality (backed by the threat of the pistol in his holster!).   Leadership is now a collective act which requires...