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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy if you are involved in Educational Leadership!
Excellent read and a very interesting insight to behind the door of an Independant Heads office.
Published 3 months ago by Thomas Hockedy

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22 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unscholarly
For a book about the producing of scholars, this is very unscholarly. It is almost entirely one-sided, and occasionally borderline libellous in naming people who are never given an opportunity to speak for themselves. This book would have been far more productive in provoking a debate if it did indeed that- debate.
Published 17 months ago by Charles Crews


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must buy if you are involved in Educational Leadership!, 7 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
Excellent read and a very interesting insight to behind the door of an Independant Heads office.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in education, 23 Oct. 2013
By 
Robert Lister (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
This is an excellent book. Through interviews with the Heads of 32 different schools, the reader is guided, mainly by direct quotation, through the different philosophies which can be applied to all areas of school life. As such, it should be useful to aspiring teachers, aspiring Heads and by all parents thinking about how they wish to educate their children. The book will raise most topics which need to be thought about before selecting a school and will examine these topics from the different angles taken by current experts. For example, chapter four, on leadership, simply juxtaposes quotations from all 32 interviewees allowing brilliant insight into the different approaches to leadership adopted by each. Discovering which most appeals to you will prepare you to have the most effective discussion with the Head of any school about what matters to you in an education and whether that school is likely to provide it.

Most schools are excellent at marketing themselves and it is easy to be beguiled on a school visit. This book allows you in the quiet of your own home to think about what your goals are from an education and the different ways they can be achieved (or indeed ignored) by a school. Read it, think about it and then visit the school.

There are one or two passages in the book which have proved contentious. The negative reviews have focused on these. Mike Atherton, a Manchester Grammar School pupil, did not have a great relationship with Ray Illingworth. That might colour any review of Atherton's autobiography by Ray. But it would not mean that the review fairly reflected the book. This is a fascinating read,
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22 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unscholarly, 15 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
For a book about the producing of scholars, this is very unscholarly. It is almost entirely one-sided, and occasionally borderline libellous in naming people who are never given an opportunity to speak for themselves. This book would have been far more productive in provoking a debate if it did indeed that- debate.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good, 3 May 2014
This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
A very readable, concise, definitive book on Headship.

Interviews are used excellently to give the reader a sense of the trials, tribulations and joys of what it is like to be a Headmaster/Headmistress.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Know what you are buying!, 24 Nov. 2013
By 
Ms. C. Nyman "Cat" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
This book reflects the successes and interesting leadership styles of our private school head teachers. It is a shame that Dominic Carman makes little or no reference to our leading head teachers who are working in the public sector. There is a deal of snobbery and over sycophantic nonsense in this well-written and engaging tale of our 'elite'... write a book about the public sector Dominic, do not lose the opportunity for us all to learn from these inspiring leaders as well as our most privileged.
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite an education, 18 Oct. 2013
I really enjoyed this book. It is written in a lively style with plenty of insights into the unfashionable topic of why the UK's independent schools are the best in the world. The author has coaxed all sorts of indiscretions and anecdotes out of his interviewees. I would suggest it is essential reading for parents, teachers and would-be heads. I look forward to the next book, perhaps on heads of state schools -- who are more heroic than this lot, given scant resources, and undoubtedly have insights to share.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seriously entertaining book, 18 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
Carman certainly knows how to tell a good story. I thought Heads were an often dull bunch, too fond of sounding off at great length about any given subject. But Heads Up really gets the best out of them, cleverly revealing what they are like as people in their own words. A delightful, engaging read, full of interesting observations and anecdotes, the narrative is liberally supported by incisive analysis of independent school finance, marketing and brand management. Then there are the numerous human problems Heads have to deal with every day. After reading Carman's book (all too quickly), I felt not only much better informed about what the role entails (and what bloody hard work it is), but also genuinely inspired by some of the people who manage the very best schools we have.

Aimed at teachers aspiring to be Heads in the future and governors who want to know what their Heads get up to, it should, I think, be read by any parent looking to send their kids to an independent school. They will learn a lot.
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9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hugely enjoyable, 17 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
At a time when the press is more interested in stories of quick fix "super heads" who "turn round" inner city schools, it is refreshing to find a book which focusses, in a sustained and enquiring manner, on the heads of what we used to be proud to call "our great public schools". These people are in charge of huge enterprises which increasingly attract international customers. Business leaders have a great deal to learn from the CEOs of these august institutions about a whole range of topical strategic and management issues, not least about how to maintain a brand century after century. Dominic Carman's book should appeal to them as well as to parents and, no doubt, to insiders.

As the author says, the heads are "surprisingly disparate in personality and approach". It is the book's great virtue that Carman's interviewees speak for themselves. Chunks of what they told him are quoted verbatim. Those who come across best, the most thoughtful, intelligent and humane ones, are also those who genuinely engage with their pupils and are well liked in and outside their schools, eg Prof Mark Bailey of St Paul's, Dr Stephen Spurr of Westminster and Mrs Marion Gibbs of JAGS. There are others whose vanity and silliness are quite staggering. Dr Helen Wright of St Mary's Calne is hilarious; her thoughts on leadership ("I strive to be a Level 5") being the funniest thing I have read all year. I should like to think Carman got a scoop when Felicity Lusk, head of Abingdon, told him, "The other thing I believe is really important is what you wear underneath. I absolutely swear by Rigby & Peller." However, after reading other things she said, I fear she probably talks quite a lot about her underwear, and also about her car (a Jag), and how one needs to change one's clothes several times a day. It is so interesting to see what these heads actually say, rather than the edited versions that appear in the press or in the Good Schools Guide. If you suspected a head might not be all that bright really, or perhaps a bit of a megalomaniac, you will find the confirmation here and in their very own words.

This is not a scholarly work (eg it has no index, footnotes or bibliography) but it does contain some recent history and statistics alongside the excerpts from the heads' interviews. It is arranged thematically and is easy to dip into. All in all, it is an informative and really entertaining read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable and informative read, 5 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Heads Up (Paperback)
Heads Up is a very enjoyable and informative read into the kinds of people who are running the top public schools in England. In depth research and lengthy  interviews with the heads are analysed , compared and contrasted, throwing light on their personalities, philosophies and attitudes. The Heads ' relationships with the school, staff, parents, children and governors along with  advice to new heads and parents,  looking to choose the most appropriate school are all covered in style and humour. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in secondary education, especially in the independent sector.  Dominic Carman has written a thoroughly professional and understanding overview. 
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative, 22 Oct. 2013
The book 'Heads Up' gives us an opportunity to hear the anecdotes and views (some guarded, others decidedly less so) of heads within some of Britain's top independent schools. This candid book details the many daily challenges and concerns that they endure whilst highlighting the tough demands of a highly multiple armed occupation. Any would-be future heads reading this will either be daunted or inspired.

As a parent I found this an eye-opening, enjoyable read. The heads' accounts of their lives and jobs are unlike anything that you would hear at a parent's evening or speech day! Anyone considering an independent school would be recommended to read this alongside the obligatory Good Schools Guide.
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Heads Up
Heads Up by Dominic Carman (Paperback - 22 Aug. 2013)
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