Leadership development in the South West – what next?

Ellie Lister

Head of Strategic Partnerships

Big Education

Big Education and Connect Academy Trust have a shared belief that a better kind of education is possible through a deep conviction that schools need to focus on head (academic success), heart (character and well-being) and hand (generating ideas, problem solving, making a difference).

At the heart of our partnership is a commitment to empower education leaders in our own schools and the wider sector, providing them with the tools, resources and networks they need to drive positive change in their schools and communities.

Both Trusts have strong shared values around the importance of collaboration and connectedness. Together we will model a different approach to the education system, where Trusts work together to ensure more young people receive this kind of education.

We recently held an event to explore Head, Heart and Hand Leadership in the South West – Beyond NPQs. Its purpose was to bring together a group of Headteachers, CEOs and School Improvement Leads, based in the South West, who are interested in what role they can play in transforming the educational landscape for children in the South West.

The main focus for the evening was asking ourselves two central questions: How do we need school leaders to behave in the South West and how can we further develop that kind of leadership? Through a fascinating discussion, we identified some key ‘needs’ from the group.

  • Collaboration: There is a strong need for a sense of openness and collaboration, avoiding competition.
  • Accessibility: A lot of leadership development is based in larger cities and there is a need for more accessible options through localised leadership development.
  • Bespoke development: We need to consider the evolving roles in Multi-Academy Trusts. There is a necessity for tailored development programmes to address these evolving responsibilities.
  • Purpose: We need a more profound understanding of leadership that goes beyond simplistic 'how to' guides, encouraging leaders to connect with their vision, ethos, and values.
  • Psychological Safety: Leaders need to be supported to be authentic, courageous, and guided by their beliefs.
  • Human Intelligence: A focus on emotional competencies over task driven leadership is required.

Big Education and Connect Academy Trust are working together to address these needs within the South West, to bring a different type of leadership development to the area. If you would like to get involved – we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch with Ellie Lister, Head of Partnerships at Big Education ([email protected]).

You can also join our upcoming leadership training in Plymouth on 5 – 6 March. This training explores the core principles of human-centred leadership, and trains leaders in a powerful toolkit that enables you to create a relational and highly focused work culture, with clarity around expectations, and space for new thinking.

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