Monthly Archives: February 2010

My favourite headteacher joke!

This always goes down well in assembly!

‘I don’t want to go to school today’

Come on now, it’s not that bad

‘It is, the work’s too hard, I never know what I’m doing, no one likes me. I don’t have any friends.’

That isn’t true

‘Yes it is. People keep calling me names and saying things behind my back, the teachers don’t like me and everyone says things about me all the time’

I’m sure it’s not that bad

‘It is. It is. Don’t make me go, it’s horrible’

Come on now, stop all this, besides you have to go. You’re the headteacher!


Leadership teams

As Jim Collins states in ‘Good to Great’ its all about getting the right people on the right bus, going in the right direction. I have to admit to feeling blessed with a fantastic leadership team which is, for me, the most important factor in school leadership.

It isn’t an easy task to find the right people, and getting those people into the right positions can be even harder.   Leadership teams are usually inherited, you don’t often walk into a new headship to be told your first job is to recruit your own team (if only!)   If the team you inherit share your vision and philosophy then you’re very fortunate, agreeing common goals is usually one of your first staff meetings.   Getting everyone onboard can be a huge challenge but with the right leadership team  in place to help achieve this, the job is much easier.

The right leadership team isn’t numerous different versions of you, it’s about completing the whole.   I know where my strengths lie and I know where other members of the leadership team excel.   Part of a great team is that level of understanding, knowing the individual parts and how they contribute to the whole .   It’s important to be challenged by those around you, to have a critical ear as well as a supportive one.   The best leadership teams provide the right balance of both.   When I reflect on my role as a headteacher, I know that the most important decisions I have made so far, have been the appointments of those I work closest with, the leadership team.

The teacher and the surgeon

Here’s an often told story that puts educational change in perspective. I can’t remember where I first heard it but I’ve told it many times since to illustrate how slowly education is changing to meet the needs of today.

A teacher and a surgeon from 100 years ago were magically transported from their places of work to an operating theatre and classroom today.

The surgeon commented first.

“What’s this?” He cried. “What are all these machines for? These lights, these controls on the wall, the screen here that moves over the bed, are these cameras, what do these controls do? Does this go over your ears? What is all this? It is nothing like my operating theatre I would not know where to start or what to do. The world of the surgeon has completely and utterly changed.”

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