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Great Leaders Make Great Schools

14th Aug 2019

Great Leaders Make Great Schools


We know that great leaders make great schools, and in the past few weeks, school leaders have had to rise to a new challenge: that of keeping kids safe and supported through the corornavirus pandemic. 

One headteacher put it succinctly: 

“This is an unprecedented and mind blowing set of circumstances. None of us has ever led or managed anything that remotely compares with this…”

More than ever we appreciate the hard work and skill of teachers as a profession. Thank you to our school leaders and teachers for all you do to keep our kids safe and support their learning.

Inspiring Partnerships

The School Leadership Challenge 2022 Report clearly set out the need for more support for school leaders, with a Teach First School Leadership Study concluding:

“Good leadership is a key ingredient of good school performance”

Inspired by that report, my partner, Paula Kennedy and I have launched a mentoring programme for school leaders: Inspiring Partnerships

This programme provides experienced business leaders as mentors for school leaders – those on senior leadership teams initially – in an inspiring partnership that helps everyone grow and reach their potential. 

The impact a mentor has is well documented: mentors can help you to become the best possible version of yourself. They can also guide you through difficult patches when you’re struggling to make decisions or lacking the experience to know in which direction to take your organisation. 

Having spent many years in leadership roles in business, I was given fantastic leadership training and mentoring, and this programme is designed to leverage that expertise that exists in businesses to support school leaders. 

Our programme takes the best business leaders and asks them to provide mentoring to school leaders. The business mentors bring a clear focus on developing leadership skills such as effective delegation, building a high performing team culture or leading change. They also provide a useful outside perspective and an invaluable link between schools and business. 

Having an impact

Paula, herself a former school leader, and I are passionate about inspiring and supporting leaders in challenging schools. Our programme is focused on schools with a high level of disadvantaged students where leaders are hard to recruit and retain. The intention is that, ultimately, we will see an uplift in student outcomes at these schools through improved and more confident leadership, leading to better life chances for young people.

Whilst the school leaders on our programme are focused on the operational side of keeping staff and students safe at school at this point in time, they are getting started with the mentoring. They have already told us that they appreciate the opportunity to share this challenge and know they are not on their own.

We are measuring the impact of our first cohort throughout the programme in partnership with a leading charity focused on improving social mobility, and we will evaluate the impact in the summer. 

Getting involved

In the past week we’ve had a new set of incredible business mentors come forward, wanting to give back and help schools at this time, so we’ve been able to provide more much needed support to school leaders on the front line. 

This is just the start – we are recruiting leaders from schools and business for the next cohort starting in September 2020 so everyone can get involved and support our school leaders.

Here are four ways you can contribute:

You can leave a message below, or contact me on

Thank you for your support

A huge thank you from both of us to all of you who have volunteered your time and expertise to support our school leaders as mentors.

Thank you also to all of our supporters – those of you who have helped us develop and shape the programme to make sure it meets the needs of those school leaders and has the potential to improve lives.

#inpsiringpartnerships #inspirationforall #schoolleaders #schoolleadershipchallenge2022 #socialmobility #mentoring #businessmentors #socialenterprise #purposebeforeprofit #sltchat #edchat #schoolclosureuk

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