Schools Leadership Insight: Canvas – Spring Edition Out Now

In our latest edition of CANVAS we bring thoughts from Sarah Kerr-Dineen, Head of Oundle School – one of the leading co-educational boarding schools in the UK – as she talks about leadership in the schools’ sector, the challenges being faced and how to stay real and relevant in the 21st century; Lesley Franklin, the new Principal of George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh who provides insight into education in Scotland and how her school remains competitive whilst preserving its deeply ingrained charitable principles and status. We also include insights on leadership in Multi Academy Trusts; and head over to Australia to hear from Sean Davies at Panorama partner firm Cordiner King to learn more about the funding complexities within its hugely popular independent schools’ sector.

Edition Overview

Horizon scanning is an essential part of the leadership job within the shifting landscape of education today. The propagation of change is evident right across the sector from stand alone independent and state schools through to Multi Academy Trusts, and those at the forefront of these institutions need the agility and resilience to stay abreast of it.

With a greater level of access to information, to share opinions and expect answers, to experience or visit different cultures and geographies, we are developing a society that is almost without barriers. However, this greater level of freedom is in turn creating greater restrictions and pressures on individuals to conform, or the opportunity or desire to hide behind the masses. This presents a serious risk, particularly for young people, of the loss of self and forgetting or misunderstanding the importance of individuality.

The education sector is a cornerstone in our society, eventually impacting and traversing all others as pupils become employees, further or higher education students and potentially parents themselves. Therefore, what is fundamental within the education sector is to preserve the sense of the individual. To encourage pupils to think about respecting and preserving that sense of self. To ensure they don’t just become part of the noise. And, most importantly, to protect and nurture, but also prepare them for something which is not quite known yet. What is known or understood, however, is that to help prepare and support them for the future, they need to be much more aware of their emotional, mental and physical health.

As we look at leadership broadly in our interviews, in the UK and beyond, we see the politics of education evolving rapidly. Independent and state sectors are under more pressure than ever before. There is a greater interest from a local and national government perspective, but also an emphasis on governance. Head teachers face more external pressures than almost any time in the past, but they must also stay focused on the importance of the pupils and staff.

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