Managing the lead-in period
Chapter 3 presented more experiential problems and gave me cause to reflect. I think I would have liked more references to the six case studies from Jill’s PhD, though recognise that is a personal reflection. The examples, when presented, for me at least, were reassuring. I think that the lesson here is that I would have liked greater reassurance.
The metaphor explore schools as ships made sense to me.
The lead-in period (decisions made or possibly not made), appears to be a vulnerable period or transition. I’m hearing the same message from the experiences and new heads. Even experienced headteacher-bloggers reflect and support the challenge of transition period. Even the US president elect, Donald Trump, is in a similar position with Obama’s Russian relations.
The idea of sabbaticals, I think is very powerful and sensible (p90). I would like to read more about such experiences. What I took from the chapter was awareness of my own naivety. Appointment discussions would benefit from negotiations on how the new school could benefit and your current school to be compensated for your time and expertise – something I will consider for the future after reading page 93.
As for the skills needed in making the move; governance, boarding, early years, marketing and admissions, capital buildings projects, safeguarding and child protection, most certainly. I would add HR as the final area.
I think most senior leaders are aware that there are no off-the-record conversations. I do feel it was right for Jill to highlight that, as head, “you are constantly being watched and evaluated” and that sometimes what you say will be “misinterpreted, repeated inaccurately or distort what you say.” To that end, I have taken up the positive that headteachers are responsible for both what is said and what is understood
P100 – as for wanting to make a difference, stamp your vision on the school. I would take heed of Jill’s advice and be aware of the dangers of summit fever. Andy Hargreaves also warns of fast change.
P103 – the feelings of being “yesterday’s man” was very interesting. As yet I’ve not read about when best to notify your current school and colleagues of your success, as potentially to limit the impact of being yesterday’s man.
P111 – Don’t forget you will walk on the bridge as you build it.
In conclusion, I felt a little uneasy offering feedback. Sometimes my reflection read as criticism. Far from it. In reality it has been a very reassuring to read. It has made me think about the need for experienced leaders to reveal or signpost transition pitfalls. Is there room for another two studies, teacher to ML and ML to SLT?