Best Practice

Ten top tips for headteachers

This summer, headteacher and SecEd contributor Dr Bernard Trafford retires after a long and successful career. We asked him to give us his top tips for aspiring and new school leaders

As I approach retirement, I’m frequently asked how I’ve done the job – or, at least, survived it – for 27 years. So here are my 10 tips for successful headship. They seem to become increasingly philosophical as the list progresses, perhaps that’s inevitable.

A school is small enough for everyone to feel they have access to the head, and no head should be too grand to listen, even if you don’t want to hear it. Theresa May famously relied on a small coterie of advisors and shut the rest out. As a result, not only did she alienate supporters, she also misjudged things disastrously, misread the mood of the country and is now a lame duck PM. She can serve as an object lesson for all school leaders.

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