Leadership programme

The collective effort of change

Liz Robinson

CEO

Big Education Trust

It’s been an incredible week. I have connected with so many brilliant people and my brain is just buzzing and full of ideas and reflections. A few of them…

1. We-derships was born! The brilliant group of thinkers and doers that make up Rethinking Leadership have been grappling with the language of leadership and wondering how we might find some new ways of expressing the intrinsically social and collective nature of leadership. Hence we-dership was born!It came to me in Tooting Lido on Tuesday morning, and some people already hate it (which is fair enough!) What do you think? If you have any other thoughts or ideas, we would be delighted to hear them. How do we get away from the linguistic shadow of existing words so that we can express something new and different?

(A geek side note on this. I studied Philosophy at LSE (Weirdly with Stuart Locke), and loved the work of Heidegger. He made up new words as he wanted to express something beyond and different. He called the existential experience of being alive ‘Dasein’ – usually translated as being-in-the-world – which was his way of overcoming the mind/body dualist view of Descartes, i.e. my experience of being alive simply is an embodied one and the word needs to be unequivocal in expressing that. So – how might we redefine leadership from the inside out as a social and collective endeavour? I did warn you it was geeky….)

2. Joyful rigour was also born! The reductive binary of our educational narrative must stop, and a wonderful growing group have been working on how we can shape the words to say what we mean. Rigour has been used as a stick to beat anyone who said anything about breadth or expansive education for years. We think it’s time to reclaim it. Joyful rigour – they both need each other, and are mutually reinforcing. A new vision for our school system?

3. I got to speak on the stage at Inspiring Leadership in Birmingham with 3 of the educators I admire most in the world, all in one go. It was such a joy and privilege. Was delighted to share the work of our incredible teams and a few ideas about why leaders need to be supported to lead and thrive in our complex system, and think a bit about what that might look like. On that subject, I had so many conversations about our Big Education Leadership programme- applications are open – and do have a look if you are interested in our ideas about rigorous joy or joyful rigour and how we as leaders might make that happen. We work with leaders across the sector – not just in schools – so do have a look or share with anyone you think might be interested…

4. The Labour manifesto has given me cause for hope and optimism. The values and moral purpose come through. An integrative and sophisticated approach to building on the best of what is, but looking at change where needed. No babies seem to be being thrown out, but neither is their thinking constrained. Russell Hobby said today he would settle for competent in the next secretary of state; I’m allowing myself to dream a bit bigger…

We-dership has been at the heart of every good thing that I am involved in. I honestly feel so incredibly lucky to share thinking and learning with such awesome people. And you know, we only connected and did this work together because, well, we did. No one asked us to or gave us permission. And we are not a closed group. If you are interested in what I am saying, do get in touch. If it take a village to raise a child, it takes a city to change an education system. Bring it on…

Liz Robinson, CEO, Big Education

Big Education

Leadership Programme

Applications are now open for headteachers and senior leaders working across education. The programme gives you the opportunity to connect with your authentic self and equip you with powerful strategies to bring about the changes you believe in.

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applications are now open for headteachers and senior leaders working across education. The programme gives leaders the opportunity to connect with your authentic self and equip you with powerful strategies to bring about the changes you believe in.

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