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10 Top Tips to being a Human Scale School Leader

Updated: Mar 11

These are not intended to be hierarchical as tablets handed down from on high but rather suggestions based on the experience of some headteachers. HSE’s approach to leadership is infused with teamwork, mutuality and collaboration.


  1. Really be clear on your VALUES – the big WHY. This will be your foundation stone, what you will talk about most, guide all you do and be tested all the time.

  2. Focus on LEADERSHIP. Remember that your focus job is to provide values, vision and strategy. You are also involved in management in terms of the structures, systems and processes. But a ship with just management and no clear leadership is destined for the rocks.

  3. Put RELATIONSHIPS with other human beings first. Listen more than you speak. When you engage with other people, lean towards DIALOGUE (“reciprocal elucidation”: Foucault)- really listen and be prepared to change your mind if the other person has a good idea that enables your values to become more real.

  4. Be as AUTHENTIC as you possibly can so that you model your values in practice. Remember that you are human also. Show this sensibly.  Protect time for yourself.

  5. RESEARCH, REFLECTION AND REFLECTION - all the time- most of this will be informally using your professional experience and expertise. 

  6. You are constantly making MORAL decisions – this is tough but put children first.

  7. STAFF come a close second to children. Ensure your school is a place with a great sense of belonging and that they feel valued. Help them feel human and not part of a machine. Build trust.

  8. TRANSITIONS can be damaging as well as exciting. Pay attention to these times e.g. nursery to Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 to 3, new staff joining your school.

  9. Include those with PARENTING responsibilities – parents/grandparents/carers.

  10. Be BRAVE – call out poor practice, don’t be deflected from your person-centred human scale beliefs, even be prepared to resign if you really hit a brick wall. 



Oh! and number 11 – contact us HERE if you need support and advice


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