Our Story

Hello, I’m Sonia Gill. I’m an educational leadership coach, author and the Founder and Director of Heads Up Ltd; we specialise in making Primary schools outstanding.

My mission is to make every Primary school in the UK outstanding; yes, in terms of Ofsted, but also in being centres of excellence in all of our communities.

I’m a qualified teacher, trained in Key Stage 2, but I’ve taught every age from reception to year 11 (reception teachers, I worship the ground you walk on because that’s the toughest year in my opinion). I wanted to broaden my experience and so I joined the prestigious John Lewis graduate management trainee scheme where my focus was all about great leadership and creating great teams. Throughout my time there I learnt a lot and I found my approach on leadership and teams combined with my passion for psychology (that’s my degree) and my skills as a class teacher led me to great success in the business world.

I always wanted to return to education and so Heads Up was born. Using the best from business with the best of education to support those who want to create great schools; Heads Up is all about supporting our educational leaders create the outstanding school they have always wanted to create.

I’ve worked with 100s of heads and senior school leaders, helping them move their school to outstanding, creating the school they’ve dreamt of leading but haven’t achieved yet.

And it’s from this work I’ve found two key insights:

Firstly, there is a qualitative difference in taking a school to good and leading a school to outstanding. Good is essentially a tick list, a tough one, of things that must be in place and happening regularly. But there is a bit of magic when it comes to outstanding, and that magic is all about creating the right culture.

Secondly, whilst heads and school leaders are really well trained and experienced in creating great cultures with children and wonderful classroom practitioners, what I’ve found is that many are not as well-equipped when it comes to adults and that’s because they’ve not been trained in the 3 core leadership activities needed to create an outstanding culture:

  • Creating a compelling vision.
  • Having successful difficult conversations.
  • Developing your team’s skills quickly.

So I developed our ‘Journey to Outstanding’ methodology to equip school leadership teams with these skills so they can create a lasting and outstanding culture. If you’re interested in knowing more, take a look at what these courses can ‘typically’ look like. Why do I say ‘typically’? Well we know that your school is unique, so we tailor our courses to what is right for you, so we show here what works in most schools but we know one size doesn’t always fit all!

Sonia Gill