Coaching & Leadership Development

Early Headship Programme – Subsidised Support for School Leaders

A heavily subsidised 1:1 School Leadership development programme for NEU Heads & College leaders in the early stages of their careers.

Download the Programme Outline 

Applications for this programme are now closed. 



Even at the best of times, starting out as a Headteacher can be a daunting task.

There are new school environments to get used to, new relationships to build, new structures and systems to develop, all of which require enormous investments of time and energy.

Yet with the onslaught at the start of the year, of the global pandemic, Headship has now become even more fraught; the challenges have been unprecedented and seemingly never-ending.

The role of the Headteacher has changed dramatically with new practices and protocols coming into place, with virtual leadership, year group bubbles, and extensive health and safety monitoring and safeguarding taking centre-stage.

The pandemic has shown that many of the school leadership text books and leadership development courses to be ill-equipped to prepare new and aspiring Heads for the current educational landscape.

Heads who are in the early stages of their careers or looking to start out, now not only have to find their own ways to shape and make the role of headship their own, but they now have to do so without the usual or most common frames of reference, whilst also contend with the emotional and psychological impact of the pandemic.

If we are to ensure that new Heads survive and thrive in this new school environment, we believe that they will need personalised support as they take this big step up into Headship and seek to navigate the emerging challenges of the role.

The NEU have recognised this and so alongside them, we have designed a new heavily subsidised, Early Headship Programme for aspiring Heads and those in the early stages of their Headship.

Consisting of heavily subsidised expert 1:1 coaching and leadership development sessions, the programme has been designed to help school leaders to navigate their first few years of their Headship, with a view to helping them build their resilience, strengthen their purpose, above all, keeping them in the profession for the long-haul.

In a time when school budgets are really challenged and amidst the intense pressures and stresses of school life at present with the current COVID situation, we really feel that this offer of comprehensive support is so timely.

Who is this offer for?


This year long development programme is for NEU Heads and College leaders in the early stages of their careers, or NEU deputy Heads who are looking to move into Headship. It is particularly for those individuals looking to:

– Strengthen their development with a deeper understanding of themselves and the requirements of the leadership role

–  Increase their skill set and ability to bring out the best in themselves and others

–  Explore how to rise above the demands of the role in ways that leave them open to continual personal growth and development

– Develop strategies for maintaining their own self-care and well-being, whilst also supporting others

–  Engage with their role, with a deeper sense of meaning, purpose and identity, even in moments of crisis



Individuals who attend this programme will benefit from…

– An increased ability to respond with deeper levels of self-awareness and understanding to the challenges posed by the pandemic and the wider challenges of the role

–  Greater confidence and skill in managing one’s own emotions and the emotions of others

– New insights and knowledge as to how individuals truly make it the leadership role their own

– Understanding the personal narratives that have shaped their career/leadership pathway

– A solid understanding of what well-being means for senior leaders and how to survive and thrive in the role

Programme Structure


The Early Headship Programme consists of four key elements:

 – 2 x Online half day Leadership Development sessions

– 2 x Face-to-Face Leadership Development Days

– 3 x 1:1 Coaching Sessions

– 1 x Half-day Closing Evaluation/Celebration event

Leadership Development Days

Viv Grant and Integrity Coaching Associates will deliver several leadership development days (online and face-to-face) designed to help Heads develop the skills, behaviours and strategies that can support them in their leadership roles.

Half-Day Evaluation

There will also be a half-day evaluation at the end of the programme for delegates to share key learning from the programme and identify personal strategies for sustaining growth.

1:1 Coaching Sessions

Each delegate will receive three online coaching sessions to build on the outcomes of the face-to-face days and provide a confidential space for Heads to explore challenges within their roles and find meaningful solutions for addressing them.

“Even if you run an Outstanding school, there is so much to be gained from coaching. I am very grateful to the NEU for the opportunity”


Headteacher, NEU Programme Cohort 2018/2019

Download the Programme Outline 

Programme Content

Module 1


Key Focus: Being the leader you want to be

What: Two Online Half Day Leadership Development Sessions

By the end of these days, individuals will have learnt:

–  Why in our current educational climate, leaders need to engage with the role of headship/college leadership differently if they are to survive and thrive

–  The impact their leadership narratives have on their capacity to rise above the challenges of the role

– The relationship between meaning, identity and purpose and their own concepts of self and well-being

Day 1 – 14th January 2021 (Via ZOOM)

Day 2 – 4th February 2021 (Via ZOOM)

Module 2


Key Focus: Self-awareness, well-being and why they matter

What: Face-to-face Leadership Development Session

By the end of this day, individuals will learn:

– How to recognise and address the aspects of the headteacher/college leader role that impact on confidence levels

– How to work successfully with their areas for development and turn them into strengths

– How to identify and overcome potential leadership blind spots

Date: 20th May 2021

Where: London

Module 3


Key Focus: Building resilience as a leader and with your SLT

What: Face-to-face Leadership Development Session

By the end of this day, individuals will learn:

– The key characteristics of resilient leaders

–  How to develop these characteristics within themselves and their teams

· The processes individuals and organisations adopt to keep levels of resilience high

Date: 23rd September 2021

Where: London



Key Focus: Evaluating progress and impact

What: Closing evaluation/celebration event

By the end of this day, individuals will have had opportunity to:

– Share key learnings from the programme

– Identify personal strategies for sustaining growth and development

– Form professional networks of collaboration and support between programme attendees

Date: 4th November 2021

Where: London

About Integrity Coaching

The programme will be delivered by Integrity Coaching. Integrity Coaching is the UK’s leading provider of coaching and leadership development services for headteachers and senior school leaders.

Led by former Head teacher, Viv Grant, the company is committed to providing coaching services for school leaders to help them overcome the distinct pressures of their roles, so that their stress levels are reduced and they are able to maintain their ability to:

– Lead and inspire others

– Stay focused on their vision and values

– Maximise the performance of both their staff and pupils.

– Maximise their ability to impact on future generations

To help you develop your courage, resilience and determination, our coaching process focuses on four key areas…



clarity about what you want for yourself and your school



Strengthening your moral purpose and ability to make the right (and sometimes tough) decisions



Creating positive beliefs about what can be achieved, to help realise your own strengths and capabilities



Embedding new behaviours to support the development of excellence in yourself and others

History of the Programme


This offer was first run as a pilot scheme back in 2016-2017 by the NUT as a values-based initiative aimed at helping to nurture the vocational vitality and emotional well-being of our leaders.


Very positive feedback from both the pilot and subsequent cohorts has demonstrated the importance of such programmes and how they help to support leadership effectiveness, personal development and in turn, school performance.


Meanwhile, the powerful impact of the previous programme cohort was also highlighted in a research evaluation by Leeds Beckett University, demonstrating once again to the NEU the crucial role that coaching plays as a form of leadership support.


If you’d like to download the full report, please follow the link below…

Read the Report

“I hadn’t realised until now, just how important it is to have a safe space to talk about my feelings and the stresses of the role. God knows where I would have been without it!”

“Coaching has given me more than I had anticipated or expected. Invest in yourself. It’s worth it. It has helped me to overcome what can sometimes feel like the most isolating job in the world.”

“Even if you run an Outstanding school there is so much to be gained from coaching. I am very grateful to the NEU for the opportunity”

Click below to find out more about what our clients say about the benefit of our services…

Read our Testimonials and Case Studies

“The programme will provide personalised support as well as 1:1 coaching for new and aspiring Heads, so that together we can strengthen mechanisms for sustaining successful school leadership”


Viv Grant, Programme Facilitator