Dear Head - Are you developing future School Leaders?

Dear Head - Are you developing future School Leaders?

07 July 2014

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Succession Planning V Baton Passing

"Each one of the leaders we respect today was once a child whose potential was identified, shaped and released by those who preceded them as leaders, teachers and other agents of influence." George Barna

Succession planning. We talk about it a lot in our schools and there are many theories and strategies that have been put forward regarding the issue. However by far the most simple, effective (and biblical!) of all succession planning techniques is the "Baton Passing" approach.

I firmly believe the answer to the perceived "succession problem" of our Church Schools lies within the schools themselves. If so, our efforts ought to be focused on identifying, developing and releasing that talent in each and every one of our schools.

What our Church Schools need are Headteachers who are determined to uncover and develop the leadership potential in their staff team. Headteachers who do not simply recognise leadership development as something they should aspire to do, but who consider it an integral part of their role as a Christian leader. Just as Moses identified and developed the leadership potential of Joshua, Paul in Timothy and Jesus in his disciples.

For as Dr Irene Bishop (former Head at St Saviours and St Olave's) so aptly put it: "The role of the Christian leader is to grow people so that they become greater than you are, enabling them to keep church schools alive. You have to have long term vision - we don't want to lose church school distinctiveness and effectiveness therefore you need others to take over the mantle!"

One such individual I had the privilege of meeting is Ani Magill, Headteacher of St John the Baptist School in Woking. Whilst touring her school she paused several times to point out future Heads. The result of her efforts? 19 Heads have now come out of SJB during her time there. That's right - 19!

Here at Emmaus Leadership, as both Christians and recruitment experts, we cannot stress enough the pre-eminence of Baton Passing over Succession Planning. Succession Planning implies a distant, impersonal and institutional idea, all too easily sidelined. Baton Passing suggests personal commitment and responsibility, be that for the benefit of your own school or a different one entirely. Which will your school adopt?

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