(38) HMC Heads' Sustainable Leadership Course, (Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire, 22-23 June 2018)


rpose and course aims:

To enable Heads to consider approaches to leadership and governance which will ensure sustainable leadership in their school, and lead to improved outcomes for the school and enhanced effectiveness and wellbeing for Heads and staff

This course is for:

Members of HMC at any point in their headship career.

Please note that the dress code is smart-casual throughout the course, including for dinner on Friday evening. 

Day 1:
11.00 – 11.30

Arrival, registration and coffee


11.30 – 11.45

Welcome and introduction
Sarah Thomas, Head, Bryanston School


11.45 – 12.45


Session 1: Looking after yourself physically and mentally and sustaining resilience (Part 1)



Understanding your reaction to pressure: what are your own signs of stress, symptoms, pacing yourself

Core values and beliefs; habits of thinking and behaving

12.45 – 1.45


1.45 – 2.15

Session 2: Looking after yourself physically and mentally and sustaining resilience (Part 2)

2:15 – 3:15

Session 3: Leadership styles

·        Styles of leadership – the heroic head vs distributed leadership – what works, when, in terms of sustainability?

·        Understanding your preferred style, and building your ‘kit bag’ of approaches. 

·        Models of senior leadership teams, and team culture

·        Building the skills of your senior team to create capacity and enable effective delegation

·        Values, and maintaining integrity through difficult decisions.

3:15 – 3:45

Tea and check-in

3:45 – 4:45


Session 4: Sustainable leadership and leadership development in other contexts

Purpose of this session: to understand how senior leaders in other contexts sustain themselves and deal with isolation, and what this might mean for our own role.


What can we learn from how CEOs and senior leaders outside education sustain and develop themselves, build capacity and look after themselves?

4:45 – 7:00

Free time


7:00 – 7:30


Drinks Reception in the Library Bar





Day 2:

07:30 – 9:00



09:00 – 10:00

Session 5: Building, managing and maintaining your relationship with the governing body and Chair (Part 1)

Purpose of this session: Gain clarity around the expectations that Heads and Governors have of one another (roles and responsibilities, reports, evidence and benchmarking).  Understand what effective communication looks like and works in practice in each delegates’ context.


10.00 – 11.00

Session 6: Practical tips for managing your work and workload

·        Time and diary management

·        Building in time for yourself

·        Working with your PA

·        Dealing with changing variables in an agile way, especially with work that cannot be delegated

·        Dealing with time stealers: reflect back on leadership styles, traits and drivers

11.00 – 11.20

Coffee and check-out

11.20 – 12.00

Session 7: Professional and career development and sources of support

·        Wellbeing and sustainability in the context of a long career

·        Prioritising your PD; identifying your needs and development areas; options for effective PD

·        The role of professional review and appraisal

·        Reinvention and refreshing your approach

·        Understanding what you want from your career and your headship.  Career planning.

·        Opportunities outside headship – a portfolio career

 Where can you find support when things aren’t going well? 

·        Building effective networks

·        Dealing with and avoiding isolation and emotional labour.  What are the taboos, and what do Heads wish they could talk about, but don’t?

·        Where to turn when there is a crisis/things are going wrong. (Including support offered by HMC)


12:00 – 12:15

Session 8: Follow-up and next steps

What will delegates do next? Commit to who you will talk to, what you will read, what you will do. 



12:15 onwards


Closing remarks, sandwich lunch and depart