Educational Excellence Mastermind

You’re the sum of the 5 schools you see most

We expose you to schools at the cutting-edge of education

So you and your school are always ahead of the curve

Take control of your school's future - join our educational excellence pioneers

Learn from the best

Learn from great schools, great leaders, and great experts

Learn as a team

Membership is for you and your leadership team

Be supported by great leaders from across the UK

Who you wouldn’t otherwise meet and who want your school to be brilliant

Getting to good is well supported. But the journey from great isn’t.

Most schools you meet are good. If you walk into 5 schools:

  • 3 will be good
  • 1 will be less than good
  • 1 is more likely to be inadequate
    than outstanding

You help improve other schools. But who helps you go beyond great?

Hear about the impact from group members

Educational Excellence Mastermind Group

What’s Included?

Termly visits to recently outstanding schools

To really know what outstanding education is you have to see it, regularly and in it’s many different forms

Expert speakers

To bring you the best ideas

Termly visits to Mastermind members schools

Learn from others in the group as they create excellence in their schools

Headteacher support group

A supportive group where you don’t have to wear your ‘leadership mask’ and we’ll resolve your leadership challenges

Termly leadership team focus sessions

We look at the term ahead because, as leaders, we always need to be a step ahead

Environmental walk

We keep edging up the quality of your environment with an annual environmental walk-around.

Half-termly strategic and best practice sessions

We will look at ways to level up your performance management, budget, get more time in your week, do less but do it better, and more!

Annual events

Including Moving to Outstanding and more


Places at our Successful Difficult Conversations and Breaking the Glass Ceiling of Good

Sound like your kind of group? Great, let’s talk.

Get in touch

Book a call via our contact us page, letting us know you're interested in joining the Mastermind Group.

Together we’ll decide if the group is right for you

We'll have a chat, and if we both think we’ll be a good fit, you’ll be invited to join. If it’s not, we’ll explore what would be best for you.

Become part of a thriving group, moving your school from great to greater

Exciting times for you and your SLT. We’ll send you all the information you need to get the most out of the group.

At Heads Up, we know that you want to constantly improve your school for your children. In order to do that, you need to be learning from other great leaders.

The problem is it’s hard and time-consuming to find like-minded heads that can support and challenge you to be even better, which can make you feel alone, wondering how you can keep doing better for your children.

We believe you’re the sum of the five schools you hang out with most.

We understand it’s hard to find the headteachers and schools that will stretch you, which is why we have found aspirational headteachers (who accept no excuses and lead happy schools) to form the Educational Excellence Mastermind that supports and challenges you to be better.

Meet Sonia Gill

Sonia Gill created the Educational Excellence Mastermind Group to support the journey beyond outstanding. 

Sonia has been walking into great schools for over a decade and is a qualified teacher who has taught every age from Reception to 16. She was selected to join the prestigious John Lewis leadership programme where she led a number of multi-million-pound business areas.


She is a speaker at educational events and the author of two number 1 ranked Amazon books ‘Journey to Outstanding (2nd edition)’ and ‘Successful Difficult Conversations in Schools’. (book images please)

Schools Sonia and her team support are 300% more likely to gain or maintain their outstanding grade than the average (and they don’t focus on Ofsted, because none of us do what we do for Ofsted, we do it for our children).


What’s Included?

  • Termly visits to recently outstanding schools.
  • Termly visits to great schools within this group.
  • Half-termly strategic sessions with Sonia, focusing on creating higher performance.
  • Termly expert webinars.
  • A range of Heads Up events.
  • Places at Heads Up training.
  • Fortnightly headteacher support sessions.
  • Half-termly 1 hour SLT sessions, strategically looking at the term ahead.

How much is it?

  • Membership is currently £11,000+VAT for a year.

How many people from my team can join?

  • Up to 6 of your SLT, additional members are £550+VAT.

Meet The Heads Up Mastermind Heads

Beth Dyer, Headteacher, Nine Acres Primary School, Isle of Wight

Nine Acres Primary School is larger than the average-sized primary school where most pupils are of White British heritage.

The school’s vision:

We are a school in which everyone is ‘Striving for Excellence’.

Cindy Acres, Headteacher, Westrop Primary School, Swindon

Westrop Primary School is an average-sized primary school and has grown in size since the last inspection. The proportion of pupils who join the school in the middle of a key stage is higher than is typical of other primary schools.

The school’s vision:

We will grow a great school with deep roots that champions everyone to achieve.

The heartwood of our school is we love and nurture everyone within it regardless.

The cradle of our branches creates a happy place that allows everyone to blossom.

Our golden leaves grow from our children’s joy and successes.

And together we plant the seeds that create a love of lifelong learning that will grow within our children, always.

Claire Westcott, Headteacher, Meridian Community Primary School & Nursery

Meridian Community Primary is a larger-than-average primary school in which numbers are rising where the vast majority of pupils are of White British heritage.

The school’s vision:

At Meridian Community Primary School, our vision is to provide a safe, supportive, caring, and stimulating learning environment where our children achieve their full potential in all areas of development, fostering a love and enjoyment of learning which will equip them for every future challenge.

Dympna Lennon, Headteacher, St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School

St John Fisher Catholic is smaller than the average-sized secondary school where the proportions of pupils from minority ethnic groups and those who speak English as an additional language are above the national average.

The school’s vision:

Nothing in this universe moves faster than light. It goes in straight lines, moving unstoppably into the future, dazzling and bright. 

SJF students are rays of light – they have limitless possibilities in front of them and represent infinite intensities of untapped potential. They all have different origins, and sometimes their light has come through dark places to reach us.  

As a school, we want to be the prism refracting their light. This work is led by our enthusiastic staff, the lenses focusing our students’ potential.  Our staff have an overriding belief that all students’ talents can shine with support, and they give their very best to our students. 

Collectively, we are a galaxy of stars, each one’s light amplifying the others. The light of our students will not only provide illumination for themselves; it will brighten our community for the benefit of others. 

Students will change on their journey through our school, using their unique talents to refract out into a million different colours, representing a million different possibilities, moving out of the shining prism of our school, into the possibilities of their own glittering futures.

Helen Nicholson, Headteacher, Stanton School

Stanton School is a 3-form Junior School, with a high number of pupils who speak English as an additional language as well as those who are eligible for free school meals.

The school’s vision:

Building the foundation for success.

Janine Burton, Headteacher, Webheath Academy Primary School

Webheath Academy Primary School is a slightly larger than average school where most pupils have White British backgrounds. A number of minority ethnic groups are also represented in the school. 

The school’s vision:

Our school is more than a school; we are to children what Mother Nature is to life.

We provide roots in the ground that are foundations on which every individual can mature.

The trunk is our strength that supports us all through the sunshine and storms.  

From the trunk, each branch finds its own direction to grow, becoming stronger over time. 

Each branch has a desire to reach the heights of the sky, growing towards the light above. 

From the branches, buds of curiosity appear and transform into leaves of knowledge.

The tree will thrive with the care and support of those around, who take  time and patience to provide nurture and nourishment.

As the seasons change, richness and diversity spark excitement and creativity.

Everyone here, and the community beyond, will blossom, leading full and ambitious lives under the canopy of Webheath.  Beneath the tree, the view of success will be admired by all who are touched by its beauty.

Joanna Savidge, Headteacher, Clockhouse Primary School in Havering

Clockhouse Primary School is a large 3-form entry primary school, with a higher-than-average number of pupils eligible for free school meals and a higher-than-average number of pupils with an EHCP.

The school’s vision:

We are not just a school, we are home!

We lay the foundations for each individual’s future and for dreams to be fulfilled – whatever they may be.

No two bricks are the same but are accepted for their uniqueness and are placed in their own special way to meet their needs.

The cement bonds us together as a family to keep us strong, stable, and safe.

We are all safe and happy under one roof; we are protected from the elements and prepared to weather every storm.

The key to success unlocks the door to future achievements unseen before.

The windows show us the reflections of our future self as ready, respectful, and responsible adults.

Collaboratively, together our home is decorated with challenge and the rooms are furnished with fun.

All around, a variety of trees grow naturally from the seed of success. With nurture and care anything is possible.

So we are not just a school, we are a home that provides a champion for all as well as timeless experiences and skills for a brighter future.

And that is why we are called Clockhouse.

Ring the bell, we’re always here!

Julie-Anne Palfrey, Headteacher, Wordsworth Primary and Nursery School

Wordsworth Primary and Nursery School is larger than the average-sized primary school. The school has an above-average number of pupils who speak English as an additional language. 

The school’s vision:

We will build a school where everyone unites.

We will build a community empowered to make a difference for generations to come.

Together we will build a future beyond our imagination.

Linda Hothersall, Headteacher, Eastgate Academy

Eastgate Academy is an average-sized primary school. It converted to an academy in July 2014 and the school is a part of Eastern Multi-Academy Trust where the majority of pupils are White British.

The school’s vision:

RESPECT – Yourself, others, and your environment

PRIDE – In your achievements, community, and heritage

WELLBEING – make healthy decisions for your mind and body

COURAGE – Be brave and value your mistakes

ASPIRE – Be passionate about your future

Lucia Santi, Headteacher, The Grove School

The Grove School is a special school for pupils with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. All pupils have an education, health, and care plan.

The school’s vision:

Our vision is founded on a desire to make a difference and change lives for the better.

Malcolm Mckinlay, Headteacher, Parkgate House School

Parkgate House School was founded in 1987 by its proprietor where the school consists of an early years section (Nursery and Reception classes), a pre-preparatory section for Year 1 and Year 2 pupils, and a preparatory section for Year 3 to Year 6 pupils.

The school’s vision:

Our mission is to give every one of our pupils the opportunity to maximise their talents and make the most of their potential by providing a broad and exciting curriculum, enriching activities, and a wealth of unrivalled experiences in a warm, safe, and happy environment. Our exceptional  teaching and strong individual care and support have a positive influence on our pupils’ academic success and personal growth. When pupils leave Parkgate House, they do so as well-educated, confident, and responsible young people ready to make their mark on the world.  

Maxine Low, Headteacher, Brooklands Farm Primary School

Brooklands Farm Primary School is larger than the average-sized community school where the school is split across two sites: one in Fen Street and one in Countess Way.

The school’s vision:

Our motivation was unique and was driven by the belief that – 

  • Every child should come to their local school as this builds an inclusive community. 

  • One platform from which to deliver quality education would make us more accountable as every child has a right to achieve. 

  • We could share expertise and collaborate across a geographical area, making our teaching dynamic. 

  • We could weave a curriculum that reflected the whole community as it grew, ensuring the community owned the successes of the school. 

But our strongest passion was that if we built a community that knew each other, then its children would be protected and safer.

Nicole Essex, Headteacher, The Meads Primary School

The Meads Primary School is an average-sized primary school where most pupils are from White British backgrounds.

The school’s vision:

Here, every child is valued and successful. How? We root them in kindness and compassion. We branch out to our community, gathering and embracing their views and beliefs, but more importantly, their dreams for their children. Because together, we stand tall and grow the fruits of our learning and our children’s future.

Richard Jenkins, Headteacher, The Meads Primary School

The Meads Primary School has a much larger student body than the average primary school and has a high proportion of students who speak English as an additional language and pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds.

The school’s vision:

Imagine a school where everyone’s kind;
A place where respect and acceptance you’ll find.
Where teachers work hard, go beyond and above,
Where children receive unconditional love.

Imagine a school where everyone’s valued,
And encouraged to choose a more positive attitude.
A school where everyone’s welcome is warm,
Where responsibility and resilience are taught as the norm.

Read the full vision here.

Ruth Boon, Headteacher, Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School, Wansted, London

The school is larger than the average-sized primary school where half of the pupils are from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds and a smaller number speak English as an additional language.

The school’s vision:

From the moment your young star begins to shine in the sky of Our Lady of Lourdes, they are a part of something bigger. They are part of a galaxy of stars where, throughout every step of their journey, they have opportunities to be inspired, and to believe in themselves in all that they do. They are never alone. There is always someone there to protect, teach, nurture, and guide your precious star, through their unique orbit of growth.

From afar, you will see your little star shine amongst a community built on kindness and mutual respect. As you journey through a galaxy of learning, preparation is key, that they may illuminate wherever life may take them. Pride and warmth will radiate through your growing star, until they are at their brightest, independently shining their light on those who love and care for them.

Let your young star join our glowing constellation.

Sarah Naylor, Headteacher, Nether Hall School

Nether Hall School is a special school in the city of Leicester. We work closely with our families, other professionals and the wider community to meet the individual needs of 130 pupils aged between 4 and 19.

Our vision:

The Future is bright.

We nurture sparks that will ignite a passion to seek and learn more.

Sparks that grow into a beacon.

A beacon that draws in others, that ignites them, so that together we create light and energy, to individually shine brightly within, and as part of our community.

A place to shine.

Sharon Hillyard, Headteacher, Exhall Cedars Infant, Nursery & Preschool

Exhall Cedars Infant, Nursery & Preschool is an infant school that has a larger-than-average number of pupils who speak English as an additional language, are eligible for free school meals and have SEN support.

The school’s vision:

This is our promise…

Let us show you what’s in our hearts.

Every child will flourish to achieve whatever they desire.

No river will be too deep.

No mountain will be too high.

We will be your guiding light at the beginning of your journey.

We will be your map and compass.

If the ground becomes uneven and you should stumble and fall, trust us to catch you in our comforting arms and guide you along that rocky path. Let us navigate you along the challenging roads ahead and together we will emerge from the shadows and into the warm light of the sun.

Like your guide rope we will keep you steady and safe, linking us together with your families and community. We will hold hands to grow in strength and resilience, to climb and reach the summit of your potential. Like the sunflower turning towards the sun we will blossom with brightness and glory.

Remember our promise and keep it in your heart as you continue on your journey. Be proud, you did it!

Vicki Lord, Headteacher, Irk Valley Community School

Irk Valley Community School is larger than the average-sized primary school where there is an above average number of pupils eligible for free school meals, who speak English as an additional language or have educational health plans.

The school’s vision:

Our Valley. 

Proud to grow here together.

Read the full vision here.

Zoe Rollinson, Headteacher, Lanesfield Primary School

Lanesfield Primary School is larger than the average-sized primary school where less than half of the pupils are White British with the remaining pupils coming from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds, but predominantly Indian. Most pupils speak English at home as their first language.