Responsible for setting the vision, overall direction, and managing all aspects of the school/academy.
Responsible for setting the vision, overall direction, and managing all aspects of the school/academy.
June 5, 2023
"Leadership with a Moral Purpose - Turning Your School Inside Out" by Will Ryan is a thought-provoking and inspiring book that challenges traditional approaches to school improvement. Ryan, drawing from his extensive experience as a teacher, headteacher, and local authority adviser, offers primary school leaders a refreshing perspective on leadership, emphasising the importance of moral purpose and authentic engagement. The book begins by exploring the concept of an "inside-out school" versus an "outside-in school." An inside-out school is driven by a clear moral purpose and seeks to create a positive learning environment that serves the needs of children, staff, and the community. In contrast, an outside-in school is focused on meeting external pressures and adhering to someone else's agenda. Ryan makes a compelling case for the transformational power of leading from within, inspiring readers to tap into their passion and beliefs to drive meaningful change. One of the book's strengths is Ryan's use of personal anecdotes, which adds a lighthearted and relatable tone. Each chapter begins with a story from his own experience, offering valuable insights and practical examples. While some of the anecdotes may appear gimmicky at times, they effectively highlight important issues faced by primary school leaders and prompt reflection. Ryan provides clear and practical guidance on various aspects of school leadership, including creating a vision for the best classrooms, building strong professional learning communities, and involving parents as partners. He offers checklists and summaries that serve as useful tools for implementing his ideas and strategies. The book's accessible style makes it easy to follow and engage with, even for readers outside the primary education sector. "Leadership with a Moral Purpose" successfully reminds leaders of their core motivations and inspires them to stay true to their convictions. It advocates for an education system that goes beyond government initiatives and standardised measures of success, focusing on the holistic development of students and the well-being of the entire school community. However, some readers may find that the book's primary focus on primary education limits its relevance for secondary school leaders. While there are valuable insights that can be applied across educational contexts, the specific examples and discussions primarily cater to primary school settings. In summary, "Leadership with a Moral Purpose - Turning Your School Inside Out" is an inspiring and thought-provoking book that encourages school leaders to redefine their approach to improvement. Will Ryan's personal experiences, practical guidance, and emphasis on moral purpose make this book a valuable resource for primary school leaders seeking to create meaningful change within their schools. Although its focus is primarily on primary education, the book's core principles can inspire leaders across various educational settings.
June 1, 2023
"Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing" by Stephen Tierney is a book that talks about how to be a good leader in education. It explains the ideas of practical wisdom and good judgment, which are important for making the right decisions. The book is divided into three parts: Ways of Being, Ways of Knowing, and Ways of Doing. Each part has different aspects that are necessary for effective leadership. The author shares examples from his own experience to show how these ideas can be applied in real life. The book aims to help leaders improve their skills and inspire future leaders to grow. Favourite quote: ‘Phronesis is an Ancient Greek word for a type of wisdom associated with practical action. It is about good judgment and good character. At its core, it is about the ability to discern how best to act. Practical wisdom involves acting thoughtfully and virtuously and encouraging others to do the same. Virtue, thought and action, which coalesce in effective leadership, I have termed the Way of Being, Way of Knowing, and Way of Doing.’ What do we think? "Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing" by Stephen Tierney is a book that explores the principles and practices of effective leadership in the education sector. The book covers a range of topics, including the importance of being an authentic and ethical leader, the role of knowledge and expertise in leadership, and the skills and strategies needed to effectively lead and manage schools.
June 2, 2023
If there is one thing that school leaders need to get right, it is school culture. When they do, children learn more and colleagues have a stronger sense of purpose - they are more motivated and ultimately more fulfilled. Creating a strong culture and a positive climate requires an understanding of the complexity of school life and this begins by building knowledge. This book supports leaders to do just that. Drawing on ideas from different domains, this insightful book reveals the role of concepts such as autonomy and trust in school improvement. Each chapter sets out the specific knowledge and expertise required by school leaders for great cultural leadership and offers practical examples and case studies to show how they can be applied in different school contexts. Creating a Strong Culture and Positive Climate in Schools is an essential lens through which to examine the common problems faced by school leaders. It is invaluable reading for all those wanting to become more expert in school leadership and to better solve the everyday problems that arise from leading a school. What do we think? "Creating a Culture" is a must-read book. It offers a comprehensive framework for understanding the factors that shape school culture and provides practical strategies for building a positive and supportive climate for all students and staff." Quotes from the book "Culture is the underlying set of beliefs, values, and assumptions that shape the behavior of a group of people." "A positive school culture is one in which staff and students feel safe, respected, and valued, and are committed to achieving high standards of excellence." "Effective communication is essential to building trust, fostering collaboration, and creating a positive school culture."
June 1, 2023
Reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni was a transformative experience. It forced me to reflect on my own actions as a team leader and helped me identify the invisible pitfalls that were hindering our progress. Lencioni's storytelling technique, which is a combination of fictional narrative and intellectual purpose, was incredibly impactful. It made complex team dynamics easier to understand and provided tangible examples of how to solve common team dysfunctions. The story of Kathryn Petersen, the CEO who brings about change in a struggling company, serves as a guide, illustrating how to overcome the five dysfunctions and create an effective team. The five dysfunctions outlined by Lencioni are: 1. Absence of trust: The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team. 2. Fear of conflict: The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive ideological conflict. 3. Lack of commitment: The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to. 4. Avoidance of accountability: The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable for their behaviors and performance. 5. Inattention to results: The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success. In each of the dysfunctions, Lencioni provides practical solutions, all of which Kathryn Petersen deploys in the story. The common thread weaving through all the solutions is trust. It's the foundation upon which great teams are built. One of my favorite moments in the book is when Kathryn implements these solutions in her team meetings. She encourages her team to engage in healthy conflict and makes these meetings a platform for open debate, discussion, and engagement. This approach eliminates dull and unproductive meetings, which are often a symptom of a dysfunctional team. This quote from the book resonated with me deeply, and perfectly encapsulates Kathryn's approach: ‘Kathryn paused for effect before delivering her next line. “Let me assure you that from now on, every meeting we have will be loaded with conflict. And they won’t be boring. And if there is nothing worth debating, then we won’t have a meeting.”’ Reading this book prompted me to reflect on the dynamics within my own team: - Do team members openly and readily disclose their opinions? - Are team meetings compelling and productive? - Does the team come to decisions quickly and avoid getting bogged down by consensus? - Do team members confront one another about their shortcomings? - Do team members sacrifice their own interests for the good of the team? If you are a team leader or aspiring to be one, I would highly recommend reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The book provides valuable insights into creating an effective team culture. It is not about offering a silver bullet, but about laying down a path that, when followed with diligence and emotional intelligence, can lead to a highly functional and successful team.
June 1, 2023
"Simplicitus" is a culmination of Emma's extensive 24-year journey leading curriculum design and effective subject leadership across multiple primary schools. In this authoritative handbook, Emma brilliantly demystifies the intricate thought processes that underpin primary curriculum design, supplementing her theoretical propositions with practical models and strategies. Emma contends that primary curriculum design is a unique knowledge domain unto itself, one that warrants deep exploration. She states the importance of considering both academic and child development lenses when crafting curriculum. Turner emphasises that while the process may be complex and nuanced, it can be made simpler – or "Simplicitus." This book lays bare the often-overlooked considerations unique to primary education, offering a blend of academic thinking, research, accumulated wisdom from decades of primary experience, and an abiding love for the distinct nature of primary teaching. The book successfully navigates the reader through this unique landscape, offering practical solutions that truly serve the needs of our youngest learners. Some stand-out quotes include: 1. "Primary curriculum design is not just a practice; it's a distinct knowledge domain." 2. "Simplicity doesn't undermine complexity; it makes it accessible and practical." 3. "In the crossroads of academic thinking and child development, lies the heart of primary curriculum design." 4. "Through the lens of 'Simplicitus', we uncover the art and science of primary curriculum design." 5. "The unique nature of primary deserves our deepest understanding and our profound love." "Simplicitus: A Handbook on Primary Curriculum Design" is a must-read for anyone engaged in primary education. The book presents a holistic and practical approach to curriculum design, integrating theoretical constructs with real-world applications. One key reason to recommend this book is its unique perspective. Emma, with her wealth of experience, offers valuable insights into primary curriculum design that extend beyond generic pedagogical advice. She offers a view steeped in the realities of primary classrooms, which resonates with professionals in the field. Another compelling reason is the book's balance of complexity and simplicity. The book acknowledges the intricate nature of curriculum design but breaks it down into manageable, understandable pieces, making the book a practical guide for both experienced educators and those new to the field. Lastly, this book is a testament to Emma's love for primary education and her unwavering dedication to enhancing curriculum design. "Simplicitus" is more than just a handbook; it's a manifesto on the importance of understanding, appreciating, and effectively navigating the unique world of primary education. It is a beacon of knowledge and wisdom for educators navigating the fascinating landscape of primary curriculum design.
June 1, 2023
"The Wellbeing Toolkit" by Andrew Cowley is a valuable resource for promoting wellbeing and resilience among school staff. Andrew, drawing on his own experiences as a school leader, challenges myths surrounding wellbeing and offers practical strategies to foster a positive atmosphere within the school community. This thought-provoking book emphasises the importance of developing a culture of positivity and self-care. Andrew encourages staff members to take ownership of their wellbeing by promoting healthy lifestyles and providing support for potentially stressful situations. By considering the needs of teachers and staff, school leaders can reduce workload, manage stress, and support individuals in challenging circumstances. With a whole-school perspective, "The Wellbeing Toolkit" advocates for strategic consideration of staff wellbeing. The book highlights the importance of understanding staff members, their motivations, and factors that affect their confidence. By implementing the book's strategies, leaders can improve staff attendance and retention while reigniting teachers' passion for their profession. Practical and actionable, this book goes beyond theory, offering effective strategies for school leaders to implement. The book's approach challenges traditional notions and emphasises the need to prioritise staff wellbeing. By creating a healthier and more vibrant working environment, schools can positively impact the entire school community. "The Wellbeing Toolkit" is a thought-provoking and timely guide that promotes resilience among school staff. With practical advice and a focus on positive change, Andrew's expertise provides valuable insights for school leaders, ultimately enhancing the educational experience for staff and students alike.
June 4, 2023
Stepping up from a deputy to a headteacher role is a critical, albeit challenging, career transition for educators. On the surface, the responsibilities of a headteacher seem to parallel those of a deputy, but with an elevated degree of intensity and scope. However, once you're in the headteacher's shoes, you quickly come to appreciate the distinct nature and gravity of the position.
June 4, 2023
We tend to set goals for ourselves that we believe are achievable based on our own abilities, resources, and past experiences. We set goals that we think are within our reach, rather than setting goals that are beyond our capabilities. This can be both positive and negative, as it can lead to setting realistic and achievable goals, but it can also limit our potential for growth and success if we don't challenge ourselves to aim higher.