There is no denying that the last year in education was crazy! The resilience and commitment of senior leaders (and all school staff) have been tried and tested to the max. In our area, many headteachers are already discussing their exit strategy and succession planning for their school, earlier than they anticipated and brought on by the extra workload, stress and in some cases the impact of negative media scrutiny. So how can we support senior leaders and aspiring headteachers to continue in the role and move forward from this experience?
There is no surprise that I am an advocate for coaching! I know the difference it made to me in my role as Headteacher for 10 years and I know the impact it has on my clients and colleagues. However, there is still the idea that schools cannot afford to provide Headteachers with a coach. But let's look again. Think about coaching for anyone in a leadership role at school in the same way you would consider a new scheme of work or IT resources. What is the benefit of having a coach? Clear direction for the Headteacher, emotional support if needed, a healthier work/life balance, leading to a more focused approach to work, support for developing a solution-focused practice and more confidence in their role. All of these positives lead to a more successful school and therefore better outcomes for pupils. Surely this makes it cost-effective?
Coaching as a model for support across the school can also ensure that schools maintain a clear vision and open channels of communication. Leaders are supported in their development and the wellbeing of all staff and pupils is encouraged. If you know that your school needs a fresh look to avoid high staff turnover and clashes with stakeholders, then consider adopting coaching for your Headteacher, for your DSL, for your SENDCo and I can assure you, you will reignite that light and help keep it burning for many years to come.