Coaching & Leadership Development
The Evolving Role of an Executive Headteacher

The Evolving Role of an Executive Headteacher

  This article was written by former head of impact at NFER, Karen Wespieser.    What is an executive headteacher? Unlike the term “headteacher”, which is defined under section 35 and 36 of the Education Act 2002, there is currently no legal definition of what an “executive headteacher” (EHT) is or what they should do.   To understand better this emerging role at NFER, we looked at the application packs of leadership jobs advertised in the national press, as well as 12 in-depth case studies. Using this qualitative data we were able to investigate the duties and skills that distinguish the Executive Headteacher.   A Department for Education (DfE) definition considers that the “post of executive headteacher should be used for a headteacher who directly leads two or more schools in a federation or other partnership arrangement” (DfE, 2015). Our research largely supports this though we found that it does not wholly reflect the picture on the ground. In practice, EHTs can:   – Lead formal groups of schools (multi-academy trusts or federations). – Be the substantive leader of one school and have a contractual arrangement with one or more other schools (maybe on an interim basis). – Lead a school with more than one phase or site (that is, not necessarily two separate schools). – Have management responsibilities which go beyond that of a single phase school (such as managing a Teaching School Alliance).   It is therefore helpful to think of an Executive Headteachers as the strategic leader of more than one school or equivalent responsibility. It is a complex role that is deployed in a range of contexts and structures to address...
7 Ways to Succeed as a School Leader

7 Ways to Succeed as a School Leader

This blog comes from writer, education consultant and hypnotherapist at Oxford Family Hypnotherapy, Julia Watson.   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? 1. Keep growing   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? Keep reading, learning and growing (all things we expect of pupils, lest we forget) and seek out anything that will keep you engaged. 2. Focus on solutions   Find out what is working well, and do more of it. Conversely, if something isn’t working, don’t do it!  Taking a solution-focused approach to challenges and change avoids blame, and promotes a positive culture of problem-solving. 3. Let people do their job   Leadership is not an exercise in writing your colleagues’ to-do lists. Micro-managing is important to a point but can also be demotivating and harbour feelings of resentment. Give staff the means to do their jobs, and seek support when they need to. But there’s enough to do in the day without covering someone else’s work as well as your own!   4. Stay organised   Whether it comes naturally to you or not, keeping on top of admin...
Managing Your Emotions as a School Leader

Managing Your Emotions as a School Leader

  This is the final part of a blog series from Headteacher of Three Bridges School, Jeremy Hannay (@HannayJeremy).  To read the other blogs from the series, please click here.   It’s a Tuesday morning – I have just walked through the door and sat down at my desk after my 40 mile drive to work.    I have a million and one things on my mind, have opened up my long list of things to do and just started crafting a reply to a difficult email I received, attempting to avoid an escalation.  Then there is a inevitable knock at my door.   First – I am THINKING – ‘This better be really important!’ But my response is: ‘Good Morning! How are you?’    This conversation goes a number of ways, but often is something like:    ‘I’m wondering if you had a chance to look at the email I sent you?’ (The one they sent me 5 minutes ago or last night at 11pm).   Now – I am THINKING – ‘You know I have just arrived – and I haven’t even been here 5 minutes…’   But my response is: ‘I’m really sorry, I haven’t had a chance yet.  What’s up?’   ‘It’s just that I’m not sure everyone knows what’s happening for book day – and maybe you could send an email to everyone reminding them of the day, etc.’   Now – I am THINKING – ‘You have got to be joking. You have fingers, a keyboard and a computer – if you think that people don’t know, YOU SEND THE EMAIL! You had time to send me one!’   But...
4 Major Types of Educational Leadership

4 Major Types of Educational Leadership

  This blog comes from writer of the @AdvocateforEd, activist and former Dean of the School of Education, Psychology, & Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Union University, Dr. Matthew Lynch.   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… 1.   Servant Leadership   Servant Leadership takes the focus from the end goal to the people who are being led. There is no sense of self-interest on the part of the leader, who steps back and supports only the interests of the followers. Guidance, empowerment and a culture of trust are hallmarks of this style of leadership. A servant leader puts complete trust in the process and in his or her followers, assuming that those within the organisation will align with its goal.   The primary issue with servant leadership is that it’s not viable on an organisational level, in large part because it does not keep its eye on the prize. With the focus being so entirely upon the needs of the people within the organisation, the goal of the organisation is nearly completely lost and therefore not attained.   Education happens in the real world, where unfortunately people have shortcomings and quite often need guidance in order to get things going in the right direction. Transformational Leadership offers that same focus on the individual, while...
‘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.   Surface level care   It was Einstein who famously said, that you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it. And yet, this is where I feel we are at with the current well-being debate. Predominant solutions for addressing the wellbeing crisis mainly focus on the public facing aspects of the role. They do not chart or address the inner landscape of teachers; their motivations, their...
Transforming Performance Management

Transforming Performance Management

  This is part 3 of a blog series from Headteacher of Three Bridges School, Jeremy Hannay (@HannayJeremy).  To read the other blogs from the series, please click here.   The first thing thats important is we speak the same language.  What does performance management look like in practice in most schools?  It is often a combination (or triangulation) of a few aspects.   1 – Data: usually from pupils’ attainment and progress, including end of key stage and national tests as well as internal school data . 2 – Books: some level of information about the progress/quality/contents of your pupils books   3 – Observation/learning walks: information from your most recent (or series of) observations, learning walks, etc.   There is also a target setting and evaluation component – often heavily revolving around pupil data (attainment and/or progress).   The next aspect to consider is WHY we have such a corporate approach to performance.  Really, it is the overly simplistic view that there are two types of teachers: good ones and bad ones.  Good ones have deep impact on pupil achievement and bad ones have little, no, or a negative impact.   Therefore, if we can measure what they do, we can find, celebrate and curate the good ones and get rid of the bad ones.  The trouble is, teaching is a lot more complex than that.  As are our schools.  One only needs to look as far as the United States to see the damning reports of the invisible impact of trying to improve teaching through narrow performance measures.   There is a place in every school to discuss pupil data –...