Pure unadulterated naked ambition within the teaching profession can be very dangerous. Personal ambition can drive departments, faculties and year groups forward. However, it must not be at the expense of young people. There is nothing worse than seeing a bored group of middle/senior leaders feeling that they have to be at a school event to enhance their profiles and to be seen to do the right things.
The advent of the NPQH (National Professional Qualification of Headship) has helped to give formality to aspiring to the top of the ladder. Training in managerial techniques, school placements and leading a programme of change is great preparation. Nevertheless, experience and the ability to work under pressure are paramount to able be to demonstrate to school governors that you possess the required credentials. At interview, you must be able to espouse your achievements and we advise you to take ownership of outcomes to help you prepare for increased responsibility.
A big attraction of working within a school environment is the diversity that exists. This is evident in the vast array of academia, culture, sport and art. Versatility is a theme of school life and as a senior member of staff you are required to be a good all rounder who accepts responsibility. In decision making, listening to the varied views in a staff room is time consuming.
The very best school leaders inspire confidence in both young people and their colleagues. This can be achieved by adhering to very high standards. Punctuality and following up on all issues is paramount to ensure the smooth running of a school. You must meet deadlines, otherwise, staff will soon lose respect for you. Ensure that your assemblies, staff meetings and INSET training are well planned and thought provoking. This will show that you care and that you adhere to high standards.
The role of a senior leader is to provide genuine leadership.This will enable colleagues to feel supported and allow them to display confidence in their role. As a leader, you are responsible for creating an environment for young people to succeed and access their chosen pathway. A good way to consider the work of a highly effective senior leader is to think like an architect. This profession is characterised by planning, design and implementation. This means that the leader must remain in post long enough to see through the changes that they have made.