🌍 England’s World Class Headteachers!

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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Do you work for a world-class headteacher?

We need to strip back any perception that our teachers and our schools are not good enough, and reverse it…

Unlocking the potential of all teachers…

Have no doubt, teaching can be incredibly demanding, exhausting and, at times, even demoralising.

In any sector, there are toxic leaders who bully and profit. In teaching, whilst it is a minority, we know some of those go on to greater things, creating further damage across the sector.

We also know that our English teachers enter the profession on a low salary and work longer hours than most. Yet, the majority of teachers still enter the classroom because they want to make a difference. Ask any teacher and they’ll say: ‘It’s ‘all about the kids.’ Teachers do not ‘train to teach’ in order to purchase highlighter pens or glue sticks with their salary, trudging through non-stop piles of marking on a Sunday evening!

They do not opt-in to have mind-numbing performance management targets set, year or year, nor do they wish to write detailed lesson plans and gather reams and reams of data for their line manager. Worse? Conducting a ‘deep dive’ with an Ofsted inspector to provide evidence of what they do, day in, day out, when nobody is watching.

Our teachers across England face some of the toughest accountability systems in the world. If it’s not government league tables or Ofsted inspections, some of the toxic leadership imposed on our teachers is homemade.

Thankfully, it is a minority.

Supporting magical classrooms…

So, why am I telling you something that you may already know?

Well, I find myself in a privileged position, working with teachers all over the UK. I read and access academic research on teaching, as well as data from teachers on the ground. I’d like to believe I’ve seen more in our schools than any education secretary of state, perhaps Ofsted’s HMCI too…

In many of the schools I work with, leaders are moving away from an era where evidence-gathering has sucked the life out of teachers. Mindless tasks, plus endless government rhetoric can leave us feeling that any enthusiasm we have for the classroom is slowly being sucked away…

In these schools, leaders ‘buffer’ the nonsense imposed from external watchdogs, keeping teachers focused on the task at hand, and whilst COVID has been a significant distraction, those leaders are doing all they can to support our young people, and the teaching workforce at large – these leaders facilitate the magic that happens in our classrooms.

Of course, all of us would rather be picking up our own children from school or relaxing with friends, rather than sitting at our desks marking or nodding off in meetings and twilight sessions. Whilst I accept that there will always be stacks of books to mark, reports to write and leadership meetings to attend, autonomous leaders are reshaping what a teacher’s working life should look like.

I believe all of our schools have the power to bring about further change, and this is evident in some of the excellent school leadership I see on my travels. It is a miracle how our headteachers have survived throughout COVID without all of our schools facing any further crisis! It is here, that the government must be thankful for…

If we want to improve school performance, we need to start paying attention to teacher wellbeing. (Briner and Dewberry, 2007)

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