Friday 29th January 2021
9:30 - 16:15
Friends House
173 Euston Rd, London, NW1 2BJ
Limited space


We all know we need to tackle under-performance, but doing so is hard on you and those involved.

And all too often:

They go off-sick

They go to their union

And you’re left wondering how best to proceed

Conflict is costing you at least £13k pa if you’re a 1-form entry school.

And you can add at least £10k pa for each additional form!

Let us help you manage this tricky landscape with more confidence and success.

This 1-day conference will provide you with more insight on the following:

– What the unions want you to do (and what will trip you up!)

– How to keep within the law

– How to make these tricky conversations more successful

– What to do if someone goes off-sick when you are managing their performance

– Common pitfalls when dealing with under-performance



Carole Horstead, Senior Officer, NEU, London Regional Office

Carole was an experienced teacher and Head of Department for Modern Languages across a variety of educational establishments.

She was a local (Croydon) school union rep and Branch Secretary before becoming a Union Officer in 2013.

Carole worked for The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) before the amalgamation with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to become what is now the National Education Union (NEU), the biggest Education Union in Europe.

Carole has led on training programmes within the Union for over 10 years and is:
- An advocate for justice in the workplace
- A strong believer in helping young people and their teachers to achieve and
- A promoter of the positive impact of Unions in schools (on both sides of the table!)

Emma Webster, Joint CEO & Employment Solicitor, YESS Law

YESS law believe 'life's too short to litigate' and Emma uses her wealth of experience to support many Educationalists navigate capability without going to court.

Leaders are expected to somehow just "know" the intricacies and pitfalls of complicated staff management and care issues despite having little or no training in these areas. These issues, if they are not dealt with effectively, become a drain on the head's time, the school's limited resources and have a negative impact on the school's ability to educate the children.

Emma's goal is to try and help you deal with those problems promptly so that you can go back to focusing on education.

Emma also sits as a part-time Employment Judge at London South Employment Tribunal and was recently a school governor.

Sonia Gill, Founder & Director of Heads Up

Sonia has supported hundreds of school leaders have resolve difficult conversations without capability or court. To date the training is 100% recommend.

Sonia will be sharing practical, easy to use tips on how to have those tricky conversations more successfully and less stressfully.

She is the author of #1 Amazon ranked books ‘Successful Difficult Conversations in School’ and 'Journey to Outstanding'.


Time                      Agenda item

9:30 – 10:00        Registration & coffee

10:00 – 10:15     Introduction to the day

10:15 – 11:15      Emma Webster,  Employment Solicitor, YESS Law:  Managing capability and avoiding the pitfalls

11:15 – 11:25     Break

11:25 – 12:25      Carole Horstead, Senior Officer, NEU, London Regional Office:  The union perspective on under-performance and capability

12:25 – 1:15        Lunch

1:15 – 2:15          Sonia Gill, Founder & Director of Heads Up:  Introduction to solving your difficult conversations (without capability or court)

2:15 – 2:30          Break

2:30 – 2:45          How Heads Up supports schools to solve these difficult conversations

2:45 – 3:45          Emma Webster,  Employment Solicitor, YESS Law:  Managing sickness

3:45 – 4:15          Conference wrap up

Who is it for?


Executive Headteachers

Deputy Headteachers

Assistant Headteachers





We're proud to have resolved all the issues schools have brought to us without capability or court