Keith Budge on school leadership
In a recent article for Insight magazine (the magazine of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference), Keith Budge discusses the crucial importance of the head to a school’s success, and offers some thoughts on how to pursue what he describes as “a great calling”.
Keith explains that the head’s leadership influences and shapes not only how teachers lead but also how students lead, and that such influence occurs through the way in which heads go about their day-to-day business. For all that, the position of head is seen as lonely, and having the right people in the right places can ensure a team effort involving the governing board and senior leadership team. Whilst all heads are heroes, he says, they should avoid the lure of ‘competitive masochism’ and, instead, give other colleagues the confidence and space to lead. He explains: “As heads we need to have sufficient confidence in the day-to-day running of the school – the pulse of its vital organs – to step back and chart its future.” Getting things wrong can be instructive, and scary thoughts can usefully be seen as challenges to be mastered. Heads, he suggests, tend to believe that all will be fine and that they will succeed.
Finally, Keith considers it essential that heads keep doing some of the things that brought them into teaching in the first place. He says: “Remember that showing your thirst for learning, your delight in running an academic society or teaching your favourite theorem, author or language is a refreshing feature of leadership for you and for your charges”.