- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: John Catt Educational Ltd (23 Feb. 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1909717266
- ISBN-13: 978-1909717268
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.5 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
102,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #76 in Books > Education Studies & Teaching > Education Management & Organisation > Administration & Organisation
- #88 in Books > Education Studies & Teaching > School Education & Teaching > Care & Counselling > Bullying & Violence
- #152 in Books > Education Studies & Teaching > Education Management & Organisation > Strategies & Policy
- See Complete Table of Contents
Headstrong: 11 Lessons of School Leadership Paperback – 23 Feb 2015
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'I've seen Sally Coates up close, shadowed her on the job for weeks on end, and she's something to behold. She's a phenomenon, sweeping through school corridors like a tornado, making improvements wherever she goes. It's not just her wealth of knowledge, but her sheer force of personality. If she'd gone into politics, I have no doubt she would have risen to the top. But she didn't. Thankfully, she became a headteacher and tens of thousands of schoolchildren have had their lives transformed as a result. If we could only clone her, we'd have the best public education system in the world.' --Toby Young, founder of the West London Free School
'Dame Sally Coates' book is a must read for all those involved in improving standards in inner city schools - exceptionally readable.' --Richard Garner, The Independent
'The narrative of Headstrong is not just one of school improvement by an inspiring headteacher. Importantly it is a tale of the joy and fulfilment which the role brings.' --Roy Blatchford, director of the National Education Trust
About the Author
Dame Sally Coates is currently named in Britain's 500 most influential people by Debrett's. She became principal of Burlington Danes Academy in London in 2008, when just 35% of students gained the national benchmark of five A*-C grades at GCSE. This figure now stands at nearly 80%, and the school has won national awards in recognition of this transformation. In 2013 she was made Dame Commander of the British Empire in the Queen's New Year's Honours List. In September 2014 Dame Sally joined United Learning, the largest chain of academies in England, as director of its southern academies. She regularly speaks at educational conferences in the UK and overseas and appears frequently on national news media discussing educational policy.
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Top Customer Reviews
As another reviewer said there are many contradictions in this book and it would take another book to dissect it fully. She bandies about the term 'emotional intelligence' but does not apply it herself. She has no boundaries for herself or her staff and as any good leader knows self-care is paramount. She is proud of the fact that teachers have to 'drag themselves in' - her words, not mine - rather than take time off when they are sick and calls them at all times in the evenings and weekends. She says a lot of her staff are young so perhaps they can cope with this kind of pressure but I get the impression that she has dismissed the wisdom and experience that an older teacher brings.
Here is a woman who is so afraid to be vulnerable and let the cracks show. As anyone knows bullies are very insecure in themselves and she openly admits that she wants her staff and pupils to be a bit afraid of her. I don't know what happened in her early life that makes her so hard on herself but she is now inflicting that on others.Read more ›
Throughout her account she outlines the practical steps that she took to transform a failing school into an academy with results rising to 79% A*-C in 2014. She is not afraid to speak truth to power and expresses her approval of Ofsted's tentative steps towards abandoning grading individual teacher's lessons after only twenty-five minutes of observation. She also raises the issue of the negative impact of successive governments' ever-changing educational policies.
However, she does include a few contradictions in her account of her time as headteacher, which deserve highlighting. When describing how she dealt with under-performing staff on her arrival at Burlington Danes, she states that she invited them to a meeting and the conversation would go like this: "I am sorry but you have been identified by the leadership team as inadequate". Nonetheless, she later advises that a headteacher should focus on the teaching, not the person. Nevertheless, to label someone as "inadequate" is not just a criticism of someone's performance, but an attack on their identity, and I think that it is time that more sophisticated and sensitive models were rolled out to deal with perceived under-performance.
Later she admits that "teachers are the most valuable resource a school has. But always put the pupil first and foremost". In my opinion it is not only unnecessary to have a hierarchy of welfare in schools, but also counter-productive.Read more ›
This book was a thinly veiled autobiography of all that has gone well in the author's secondary headship. There are no references to how any headship experiences in other phases, although clearly some things apply to all phases.
Interesting insights in how decisions were arrived at , such as the choice of tartan as a uniform choice - the author likes tartan, she freely admits , are peppered throughout the book.
There are no overt references to where decisions have been wrongly arrived at, or where things have indeed only been partially successful.
This many well be an inspiring book for teachers embarking in secondary leadership but don't expect any light bulb moments - they are not there.
Infant, Junior and Primary staff beware... children don't exist before they are 11 in this book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a senior leader and aspiring Headteacher, I found this book inspirational and informative. I have noted down lots of ideas to implement in my own school.Published 10 months ago by ERS
Formatting issues on the kindle. It also feels like a bit of a lecture.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
An excellent read for anyone interested in the process of 'turn-around schools'. Although I don't entirely agree with everything that is said or at times her ideas are not rocket... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Gatsby
An excellent book - anecdotal yet precise. Real inspiration here.Published 22 months ago by thequillguy
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