(16) HMC Heads' Sustainable Leadership Course (Coombe Abbey Hotel, Warwickshire, 17-18 January 2019)

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.


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)

This session will cover:

  • Definitions of wellbeing and a model of resilience
  • Understanding your reaction to pressure: what are your own signs of stress, symptoms, pacing yourself
  • Core values and beliefs; habits of thinking and behaving; traits and drivers
  • Building resilience

This session will start with a model of resilience, combining theory and practical examples and providing an opportunity for practical exercise(s) & reflection.

Speaker: Julia Steward, Chrysalis Leadership Development, and author of ‘Sustaining Resilience for Leadership: Stories from Education’

12.45 – 1.45


1.45 – 2.15

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

Continuation of session 1 above

Speaker: Julia Steward

2:15 – 3:15

Session 3: Leadership styles

This session will cover:

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

Speaker to be confirmed

3:15 – 3:45

Tea and check-in


3:45 – 4.45

Session 4: Sustainable leadership and leadership development in other contexts


This session will cover:

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

Speaker to be confirmed

4:45 – 7.00

Free time

7.00 – 7.30

Drinks Reception



Day 2:

07.30 – 9.00


09.00 – 10.00

Session 5: Professional and career development and sources of support

This session will cover:

  • Wellbeing and sustainability in the context of a long career
  • The role of professional review and appraisal
  • Prioritising and planning your professional development: identifying your needs and development areas; CPD options available for school leaders
  • Understanding what you want from your career and your headship.  Career planning.
  • Opportunities outside headship – a portfolio career

 Understanding where you can find support:

  • Building effective networks
  • Dealing with and avoiding isolation and emotional labour
  • Where to turn when there is a crisis/things are going wrong
  • Preventative measures and spotting the warning signs:  also covered in session 4 above


Ian Power, Membership Secretary, HMC

Second speaker to be confirmed

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 and time stealers
  • in an agile way, especially with work that cannot be delegated
  • Dealing with time stealers: reflect back on leadership styles, traits and drivers

Speaker to be confirmed

11.00 – 11.20

Coffee and check-out

11.20 – 12.20

Session 7: 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 Govs have of one another, and how governors can support sustainable leadership for the Head and in the school more widely (R&R, reports, evidence and benchmarking. To understand what effective communication looks like and works in practice in each delegates’ context.)

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Considering how governors can support sustainable leadership for the Head, and in the school more widely
  • Communications and relationships with governors: What ‘good’ looks like, and how to build effective and trusting working relationships
  • Breaking the ‘grin and bear it’ culture: How can this be overcome? What can Heads do? What might governors be encouraged to do?

Speaker: Richard Harman, Chief Executive, AGBIS

12:20 – 12:45

Session 8: Follow-up and next steps

12:45 onwards

Closing remarks, sandwich lunch and depart