Broken branches help you fly

by Binks Neate-Evans    @BinksNeateEvans (Executive Principal, Evolution Trust)

I have recently blogged about disappointment for @headsroundtable https://headteachersroundtable.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/disappointment-by-binksneateevans-september-2019/ I refer to disappointment on a spectrum with hope.

Following an ‘interesting’ 7 months as a leader of a prep school in Saudi Arabia, having perhaps experienced some of the worst leadership I’ve ever seen or experienced, my disappointment has been quashed and salved by the hope , inspiration and challenge my new role is providing. There is value in watching and experiencing appalling leadership if you can protect yourself from it, analyse it and see the living proof of why it doesn’t work. I hear the words and see the faces of the staff team I left behind. Their function has become to protect their role.

It’s a stark reminder of why moral and ethical leadership is so important. Fear motivates ‘something’ but it doesn’t galvanise and it quashes trust, a value which should be the mainstay for any school.

Once I’d ‘recovered’ and the bruising faded, the experience had an unexpected galvanising effect for me though; to lead the way I always had, sticking to my principles.

When you have led a number of schools, it is really important to apply your leadership ‘stay fresh’ deodorant in to a new role. Otherwise, the ‘here we go again’ internal script you may hear as you revisit processes and issues that you have previously worked hard to address and overcome may win and knock the freshness of your vigour. That’s is what I love about being the Executive Principal for Evolution Trust Schools. There is an energy and receptiveness for engagement and development in the schools and with all the heads in the trust. I love really finding out what the institutional and individual strengths are and how the dynamics work.

I think the thing I love the most is finding the pulse of a place, figuring out how best to work with the whole community to bring about meaningful improvements which support teachers and the staff team to be the best they can be for the children they teach. What a privilege. I’m sold.

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