100 Reasons to Become a School Leader

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School Leader 100 reasons


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...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

What reasons would encourage more teachers to become school leaders?

We have a teacher recruitment problem, but we also have a headteacher problem too.

A report to the Education Select Committee in 2023 said we have the “highest number of vacancies” reported since 2010 and the highest working hours reported among headteachers.

Now, I don’t for one moment believe this list of 100 ideas will fix the problem, but I believe it will give all the brilliant headteachers that I work with some reassurance and inspiration to keep going. It will also serve as a bookmark for many teachers who are considering stepping up into leadership.

Inspired by Just Great Teaching, here are ten themes, with ten reasons each, why headship is a remarkable job!

Marking and Assessment

  1. Pioneering effective assessment strategies that empower teachers and students.
  2. Ensuring all students are supported equitably, celebrating diversity in learning.
  3. Setting high expectations for achievement and learning outcomes.
  4. Driving assessment as a tool for feedback and growth, not just evaluation.
  5. Developing innovative marking strategies that save teachers’ time.
  6. Helping teachers and students gain confidence through clear, constructive feedback.
  7. Making assessment an engaging process to motivate learners.
  8. Using assessment data to tailor teaching methods to student needs
  9. Promoting a culture of reflection among teachers and students
  10. Recognising and celebrating progress and achievements in learning.

Lessons Planning, Inc. EdTech

  1. Encouraging creative planning that engages and inspires students.
  2. Seamlessly incorporating tech and AI to enhance learning outcomes.
  3. Promoting collaborative planning among teachers to share best practices.
  4. Implementing efficient planning tools to reduce workload and stress.
  5. Promoting adaptable planning that responds to students’ evolving needs.
  6. Ensuring learning materials are accessible to all students, including those with SEND.
  7. Championing innovative approaches and technologies in lesson design.
  8. Aligning planning with clear, measurable learning outcomes.
  9. Developing teachers’ skills in planning and AI/tech integration.
  10. Supporting continuous professional development in planning and technology use.

Teaching and Learning

  1. Leading evidence-based teaching practices that enhance learning.
  2. Setting a school-wide standard for high-quality teaching and learning
  3. Igniting passion for learning among teachers and students.
  4. Advocating approaches that put students at the heart of learning.
  5. Encouraging teaching methods that develop critical and creative thinking skills.
  6. Instilling a love for learning that extends beyond the classroom.
  7. Implementing strategies to keep students engaged and motivated.
  8. Encouraging teaching practices that build resilience and perseverance.
  9. Ensuring teaching is inclusive and meets the needs of all students.
  10. Recognising and celebrating innovative teaching practices.

Teacher Wellbeing

  1. Building a culture of support and care for teacher wellbeing.
  2. Advocating work-life balance to prevent burnout and stress.
  3. Emphasising the importance of self-care among staff.
  4. Cultivating a collegial atmosphere where teachers feel valued and supported.
  5. Offering resources and support for physical and mental health.
  6. Actively listening to teacher concerns and taking action to address them.
  7. Supporting strategies that build resilience and coping skills.
  8. Celebrating the achievements and hard work of teachers.
  9. Empowering teachers with autonomy in their roles to enhance job satisfaction.
  10. Encouraging professional growth and development opportunities.

Student Mental Health

  1. Making student mental health a top priority within the school.
  2. Raising awareness of mental health issues and promoting understanding.
  3.  Ensuring there are safe, welcoming spaces for students to express themselves.
  4. Embedding mental health support seamlessly into school life.
  5. Equipping students with the tools to manage stress and challenges.
  6. Promoting an environment where students feel safe to discuss mental health.
  7. Working with mental health professionals to provide expert support.
  8. Engaging with families to support student mental health at home and in school.
  9. Adopting a whole-school strategy to mental health and wellbeing.
  10. Continuously monitoring the effectiveness of mental health initiatives and adapting as needed.

Behaviour and Exclusions

  1. Leading initiatives that foster a positive school culture and behaviour.
  2. Championing approaches that focus on repairing harm and rebuilding relationships.
  3. Encouraging practices that build empathy and understanding among students.
  4. Overseeing fair and consistent application of behaviour policies.
  5. Working towards reducing exclusions by addressing root causes of behaviour.
  6. Providing targeted support for students at risk of exclusion.
  7. Involving parents in behavioural interventions and support strategies.
  8. Ensuring behaviour policies are inclusive and considerate of all needs.
  9. Providing training for staff on behaviour management and de-escalation techniques.
  10. Regularly reviewing behaviour policies and their impact to ensure they are effective.

Supporting Students with SEND

  1. Ensuring all students, including those with SEND, are fully included in school life.
  2. Overseeing the provision of tailored support that meets individual needs.
  3. Investing in professional development for staff to better support students with SEND.
  4. Ensuring learning environments and materials are accessible to all students.
  5. Encouraging collaboration between teachers, SEND specialists, and parents.
  6. Raising awareness and understanding of SEND within the school community.
  7. Advocating for the resources and support necessary to meet the needs of students with SEND.
  8. Recognising and celebrating the diverse contributions of students with SEND.
  9. Monitoring outcomes to ensure students with SEND have equitable opportunities for success.
  10. Creating networks of support that include external agencies and specialists.

Curriculum Design

  1. Guiding the development of a curriculum that meets the needs of all students.
  2. Ensuring the curriculum is coherent and aligned across different subjects and year groups.
  3. Encouraging a focus on depth of learning rather than just coverage.
  4. Ensuring the curriculum has relevance to students’ lives and future aspirations.
  5. Supporting innovative approaches to curriculum planning and delivery.
  6. Promoting opportunities for interdisciplinary learning and connections between subjects.
  7. Embedding opportunities to build students’ cultural capital within the curriculum.
  8. Monitoring curriculum progression to ensure students build on their knowledge and skills effectively.
  9. Regularly evaluating the impact of the curriculum on student outcomes.
  10. Involving teachers, students, and parents in curriculum development and review.

Research-Led Practice

  1. Creating a culture where evidence-based practice is valued and promoted.
  2. Encouraging staff to critically engage with educational research.
  3. Facilitating the translation of research findings into practical teaching strategies.
  4. Supporting staff in conducting their own research or inquiry projects.
  5. Keeping abreast of the latest research and trends in education.
  6. Encouraging collaboration with research institutions and networks.
  7. Providing opportunities for staff to develop research skills.
  8. Using research methods to evaluate the effectiveness of school initiatives.
  9. Sharing research findings and best practices within and beyond the school.
  10. Using research to inform school policy and practice.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

  1. Prioritising the ongoing professional development of ALL staff.
  2. Offering CPD that is tailored to individual and school needs.
  3. Promoting a culture of reflection and continuous improvement.
  4. Encouraging opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and mentoring.
  5. Supporting the development of future leaders within the school.
  6. Recognising and rewarding professional growth and achievement.
  7. Providing access to external courses, workshops, and conferences
  8. Fostering a sense of community among staff focused on learning and growth.
  9. Embedding CPD into the school’s strategic planning and priorities.
  10. Regularly evaluating the impact of CPD on teaching and learning outcomes.

Now, I wouldn’t say I cracked every single one on this list as a school leader, but I’ve got plenty of resources and wisdom to help.

Guiding a school empowers special people to make a profound impact on the local community. It could be you?



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