Getting to grips with being a great teacher AND a great manager

Although our prime focus is putting great teachers into schools whether for a day, a term or a year, we take a great interest in what goes on around the whole school enterprise.

This article explores some of the wider issues that directly impact on our own teachers.

Getting to grips with being a great teacher and a great manager

We know only too well from our regular contacts with primary and secondary school management teams across London that there is far more to the education of our children than what goes on in the class. That’s why I got all excited when I saw an article in today’s Guardian entitled: “Fancy being a school leader? Our experts share their tips on how to make it.”

I should have curbed my enthusiasm as it consisted of a few comments focusing on useful courses, getting involved with whole school activities, avoiding ‘bad’ schools, standing out at interviews and so on.

Talk about missing the point!! Putting the education factor on one side, today’s secondary schools are major enterprises, larger than many businesses in terms of manpower and budget. When schools go wrong, the consequences are hugely significant, so the risk element is again greater than many businesses confront. Even a departmental head carries great managerial responsibility, again comparable to the world of business. To reinforce the point, look at this headline:

“’Inadequate school leadership results in the management and workload issues that blight teachers’ lives”. The author of this piece was Dr Mary Bousted is general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and you can find it here:

So, what is my point? In any working environment, great leadership and management skills produce great outcomes. It used to be argued that great leaders and managers are born, not made. This might be true up to a point, but these skills can also be acquired through the appropriate study and mentoring programmes, not over a study weekend, but over an extended period to allow for reflection, self-evaluation, peer mentoring and finally accreditation. Hard work? Yes! Demanding? You bet! Worthwhile? Most definitely.

I have met many people in so-called management roles, often performing quite well, who have openly admitted that their performance was transformed by engaging with a properly focused leadership and management programme. The oldest was a 55 year-old who’d been in post for twenty years who said to me that she was twice as effective and working less hard!!

Expensive? No – this programme is fully subsidised. So, what’s not to like.

I will bring you more details shortly, but in the meantime, you can always email me at


Peter Cobrin entered teaching by accident in 1981 to provide cover for a few days and stayed at the same school for 15 years first as a teacher of history and politics, then head of department and de facto head of sixth form. Later in his career he was a lead adviser in the Building Schools for the Future programme and now he is a key member of the First Class Education family, focusing on innovation and special projects.