Name ideas for achieving excellence. Our survey says…

I’ve spent over a decade walking into schools and talking to school leaders trying to answer this question:


What stops us breaking through the ceiling of normal, and move beyond delivering good education to providing exceptional education?


Thinking about how to share what I’ve learned puts me in mind of the old game show ‘Family Fortunes’ (remember? with the big ‘uh uhhhhh’ when the answer wasn’t on the board – or am I revealing my age?!)


So let’s pretend your a contestant and have to answer these questions:


  1. Which one of these should you focus on first if you want to make a great school?
  1. Growing the skills of the team
  2. Creating a compelling vision
  3. Successful Difficult Conversations


You say: Growing the skill of the team, 51% of heads give this answer in our training.


I get it, we’re teachers and we love growing and developing people.

But this keeps schools stuck at good.

Why? Because those issues (you know the ones) hold your school back more than growing skills will move your school forward.


Our results say: Start with Successful Difficult Conversations and address the issues in your school  (25% of those surveyed choose this).


  1. What percentage of your team is fully on board for your journey of improvement?
  1. 40% of the team
  2. 60% of the team
  3. 100% of the team


You say: Up to 40% of the team are fully on board (27% of Heads surveyed in our training gave this answer). In fact, only 8% of those surveyed said 90%+ of the team were fully on board.

If only everyone would buy-in, would get on board. So many do, but so many don’t fully either.

And you know this keeps schools stuck at good.

Why? Because imagine how much easier and better your school would be if everyone worked like you and was as committed as you were. Imagine that for a moment…amazing right?

Our results say:  You need 100% on board (it is possible, if you know how).


  1. Who should you develop in your team if you want excellence?
  1. The poorest performers
  2. The good performers
  3. The great performers


You say:  63% of surveyed Heads said ‘The good performers’.

It makes sense, there’s more opportunity for improvement in helping good people become great people.

But this keeps schools stuck at good.

Why? Because you need to create a norm of great performance, not good performance.

Our results say: the great performers, make more of them to create a norm of exceptional.


These are the answers from 1,174 headteachers, almost all of them from good schools.


What were your answers? Are you building a great team or one that is stuck at good?


Spotlight Resource

You can assess how good or great your team is with this assessment tool:


  • 30 quick questions
  • 5 minutes
  • Instant results and practical tips to help you improve