Lessons from Headstrong

English Remnant World

Headstrong, by Dame Sally Coates with Steve Adcock and Michael Ribton, highlights eleven lessons for school leaders – handily though unintentionally making it easier for me to structure this blog post. Although many of the lessons are relevant for leaders more generally, the writers mention on a number of occasions that their focus is primarily on schools in challenging circumstances which need turning round. The book draws on the writers’ experiences in transforming Burlington Danes Academy in London.

Headstrong begins with the narrative surrounding Coates’ appointment as headteacher of Burlington Danes whilst the remainder of the book explores what it takes to turn a school round. This includes, “strong leadership; dedicated and talented teachers; decent facilities and resources; and personalised support.”

Coates sets out to establish that, even though “the tragedy is we’ve known about the pernicious link between social background and achievement for decades,” there is no need…

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