Chris Hirst: Prioritise "the first five"

*It doesn’t have to be five. Hirst explains why prioritising your core team is crucial for creating successful change.

by Chris Hirst

Successful headteachers are superb examples of the galvanising effect of great leadership. A school can be transformed in quick time from a disaster zone to a wonderful success (and sadly vice versa) on the arrival of a new head. It is for a different column to therefore plead the obvious merits of not simply improving our educators’ teaching skills, but also their leadership skills. It would be to the benefit of us all. 

In 2018 when I met Nina Steeples she was deputy headteacher of Springfield Primary School in East London. She had joined as part of team tasked with turning round what had been a perennial problem school. On joining, the new headteacher brought in her A-team of four like-minded deputies, of which Steeples was one.

Together they agreed their immediate next steps, the long-term objective and how they were going to get there. They referred to themselves as ‘the first five’. It’s a great model all leaders of change should follow.

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