Creating a genuinely outstanding school

6% of schools gain or maintain their outstanding OFSTED judgement.
But 24% of the school Sonia and her team have supported do.

How? In this live online training programme Sonia Gill will share what you need to do to break the glass ceiling of ‘good’ and create a genuinely outstanding school.

Since 2011 Sonia and her team have been helping schools become genuinely outstanding. She walks into at least 4 schools a week and knows more ‘Outstanding’ heads than anyone else*.  As a result the patterns of how to become genuinely ‘Outstanding’ have become very clear, which Sonia is going to share in this live online training programme:


  • The problems faced when moving from ‘Good’ to better than ‘Good’
  • The key changes you must make to become great
  • Practical tips you can take away and use immediately

The programme runs for 5 weeks with a one-hour session each week.

Are you ready to take the next step in creating a genuinely outstanding school? 

*If you think you know more outstanding heads then get in touch – Sonia would be happy to be proved wrong.

Course content and dates

Autumn 2021 dates:

Wednesday 29th September 2021 11am – 12pm

Session 1: What stops your school being outstanding and how to create a genuinely outstanding school

Outcome: You and your SLT need the knowledge base to understand that every school can be outstanding, including yours

Wednesday 6th October 2021 11am – 12pm

Session 2: How to quickly create excellence in your team

Outcome: a strategic map to improve performance faster than you could imagine

Wednesday 13th October 2021 11am – 12pm

Session 3: How to have successful difficult conversations

Outcome: Know how to fix common issues in your school

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 11am – 12pm

Session 4: How to create a more powerful vision

Outcome: Quick ways to make your vision more powerful

Wednesday 17th November 2021 11am – 12pm

Session 5: How to judge a school in 30 seconds

Outcome: Know the secret messages your school is giving and how to fix them.

Wednesday 24th November 2021 11am – 12pm

Bonus session: Q&A

Outcome: Your questions answered.

Frequently asked questions

When do I need to join by?

Autumn 2021 course: 1st August 2021

What if I want to join later?

I’m afraid you’ll need to wait until we run this course again.

How is the course delivered?

Online, via zoom.

Who can access the course?

Your senior leadership team.

How long will the course run for?

5 weeks. Each week we’ll have a one-hour session.

What if I miss a session?

Don’t worry, we will upload it to the online portal you will have access to and you can catch up when you’re ready.

How long will I have access to the training materials?

Until the end of the academic year.

Secure your place here

Sorry – no places are available for this course at present.

Why not book your place at our next Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Good event instead?

What schools say about the course

“First Steps to Outstanding was brilliant for my new leadership team; it really pulled us together and helped us to focus on what our most pertinent and impactful next steps would be.  The range of key areas covered was perfect. We have left with essential skills to begin to make real and sustainable change”.

Ms H Jordan- Executive Headteacher, The Federation of Spixworth Schools


“The sessions were very useful to our whole senior leadership team. Our thinking about the way we do things and why was challenged in each session. As a result, we have started to reflect on how we can lead the way on our journey to being truly outstanding”.

Mrs V Lord- Headteacher, Irk Valley Community School


“First steps to “outstanding” has helped to keep our focus on the main journey, delivering the best education we can. It has supported us with some key actions that we have now added to our SIP.

Additionally it has helped us come together as we have two new members in the team.  At this time the short sessions really have had impact for us as a school. I am a real advocate of Sonia and have had both books for a while. I just wonder why it took me so long to engage in training! The virtual aspect has been a bonus”.

Mrs Z Rollinson- Headteacher, Lanesfield Primary School


6% of schools gain or maintain their 'outstanding' judgement.
24% of the schools Heads Up support do.