- A practical guide for those considering entering senior leadership in schools.
- An easy-to-follow CPD guide for anyone delivering leadership training.
- A useful handbook for building the next generation of senior leaders.
Review compiled by: Sarah Wordlaw
We all know that having a clear, articulated vision as a leader gives purpose and motivation to staff teams. Easier said than done, right? Senior leadership takes a shift in mindset – thinking about whole school matters and managing complex teams, maintaining a “children first” mantra. I have been on this journey for the past 3 years, across two schools and juggling the needs of all children and staff is a tricky (but incredibly rewarding one). Jon Tait’s book “Senior Leadership”, is a great guide for those considering entering senior leadership position, reminiscent of some of the areas covered on the NPQSL (National Professional Qualification for Senior Leaders).
The book starts off with a questionnaire exploring how “ready” the reader is for senior management, which is a great way to start, particularly for those thinking about applying for a leadership position. It sets the tone about what senior leadership is all about and some of the skills and attributes needed. It then goes on to discussing the right school for you. I found this chapter particularly pertinent; having recently worked in a school which definitely was not for me, I now truly understand the importance of finding somewhere fitting for you. It lists distance and Ofsted rating as key factors but I found what it failed to mention was the general pedagogy of an establishment and its willingness to embrace whatever your educational beliefs are. What is particularly useful after this chapter is the one on applying and interviews for these positions – full of handy hints, the most important of which is essential to be yourself. This may sound like a hippy wind catcher thing to say but having applied for many Deputy Head roles before being offered my current one, I was always trying to write what I thought they would like as opposed to being bluntly honest.
After discussion picking schools, the middle chapters explore key leadership issues such as: setting a vision, effective meetings, difficult conversations, holding people to account. leading change, recruitment and retainment of staff. What I found particularly useful is at the end of each chapter is “Chapter Takeaway” summing up, recommending further “book club” reading and links to blogs about each topic. It also includes a to-do list based on each chapter.
Part 2 of the book is essentially a training manual with 17 training plans (totalling 20 hours of training sessions). The aim of these is to help the reader deliver leadership training to aspiring senior leaders, covering the topics in the first part of the book, which is clear and useful.
The book stands out because it has clear, concise information broken into bite-size chunks. Full credit to Jon Tait as there are useful takeaways and practical ideas for those thinking about applying for a senior leadership role, allowing the reader to reflect about their educational future.
Being an outstanding classroom teacher does not always translate into being an outstanding senior leader – the skill set can be very different. A senior leader’s focus must shift from delivering high-quality classroom teaching, towards leading staff rather than children. Experienced Deputy Headteacher, Jon Tait, sets out to help with this transition by teaching aspiring senior leaders how to lead staff and gain vital knowledge and experience in their new role.
This easy-to-follow title in the Bloomsbury CPD Library specifically focuses on the next stage in a teacher’s career: senior leadership. It includes a full set of helpful, ready-to-use training plans for 20 hours of CPD sessions with your school and senior leadership team. All hand-outs and presentations are provided in the book or available as a free download from the companion website.