Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Game Plan for Successful Headship

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

A Game Plan for Successful Headship

Article excerpt

In education, as in football, a strong leader is vital. Make sure you're on the ball

Many young boys dream of being professional footballers and that was certainly the case for me. Luckily, I was able to live my dream and spent 13 years playing for Ipswich, Middlesbrough, Oxford and Southend. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a sportsman, it couldn't last indefinitely. When I had an operation in January 2003 (the fifth procedure on the same knee), it was time to consider my options.

A chance encounter led me to a career in education. A mutual friend introduced me to a primary headteacher, who invited me to spend a week at his school, moving between classrooms and seeing learning in action.

It was a real eye-opener to discover the many different hats a teacher has to wear during the working week and I instantly knew this was the path I wanted to take. Little more than 12 months and a PGCE later, there I was, facing the first class that was mine to educate and guide for a whole school year.

After 10 years of teaching, I recently made the move to senior management and have become headteacher at Millfields Primary School and Nursery in Cheshire. From Day 1, I've tried to establish a leadership style that draws on all the positive aspects of management that I've picked up throughout my two careers. Many of the attributes that make a great football coach also make a great school leader.

Working as a team

Having a football team of talented individuals will ensure moments of brilliance that bring joy to onlookers. But a squad of players who work together collaboratively and are clear about their roles within the team will generally be more successful in the long term.

This also applies to schools. Staff who feel they all have a part to play and know exactly what that involves are far more likely to make a positive contribution. Sharing key goals and objectives and providing clear direction is part of a successful manager's job in any industry. …

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