The magic ingredient on your journey to outstanding

Getting to good is hard work, I’m in schools every day and I see that first hand. However becoming outstanding can be a bit of a mystery. I know heads who can walk into a requires improvement school (or worse) and turn it around to be good; some specialise in this. But getting to outstanding is different, harder, and it’s not as easy to pin down. And as yet I’ve not met a head who can do this in the same way others can get a school to good.

For a school to be good they have to make sure certain things are in place, it’s like a long tick list of things that have to be done every day. It’s a tough list and making sure it’s consistently in place is hard work, there’s no denying that nor that getting a school to good and keeping there is a big achievement in itself.

But outstanding…how do you get there? There’s not a tick-list for it. I hear heads saying in frustration ‘we’re working harder, faster, smarter and yet we can’t seem to break this glass ceiling of good’.

Why is that? Here’s what I have found.

The magic ingredient that makes a school outstanding is its high performing culture. I’ve walked into a lot of schools, I’ve met a lot of heads, and when it comes to outstanding heads I probably know more pf them than anyone else. And what’s evident from the moment you walk into the school (and often before that!) is that they have created an amazing culture. But the problem with culture is:

  • Most of us don’t know how to create it
  • It takes time (at least 2 years in most cases)
  • It’s a moveable feast, an organic being in itself

But culture is a major commonality I see in outstanding schools, with that in place they can get great results while delivering an incredible, holistic education.

So how do you create a culture? The fact is you have one already, culture forms as soon as a group of people come together regularly; the difference is high performing cultures are created with intention, by design. To do that you need to:

  • Make sure people know where you’re going and why (have a compelling vision and values that excite people, just knowing them is not enough)
  • Talk to people when they are not in line with your culture, this means having those difficult conversations about performance and behaviour when it’s out of kilter
  • Be committed to growing the skills of your team, joyfully; develop them so they can be and feel brilliant about their work – nothing pays like developing your team

Do these 3 things really well and consistently and you’ll start to see your culture develop and that glass ceiling of good will start to melt away as you move forward on your journey to outstanding.

Looking for more tips like above? Come to our conference on the 11th October 2019- ‘Breaking the glass ceiling of ‘Good’. For further details including agenda, venue and pricing visit: