I hope that at least someone out there reading this will have noticed that I was away from school on Monday and Tuesday. This was due to my first trip to the annual IAPS Heads Conference. I must say, it was hard to hand over the tiller to Patrick and Liz, even though I knew that I was leaving the good ship Craigclowan in safe hands.
The theme of the conference this year was ‘Leading Change’. This seemed very appropriate for any Head but particularly one relatively new in post. With something in the region of 600 prep school Heads present, there was a wealth of experience in the room but still the programme seemed to have something to appeal to everyone. And rather than fizzling out with the last few speakers, we were treated to an hour and a half with Lieutenant General Nick Pope CBE, Deputy Chief of the General Staff (or, as he introduced himself, the Deputy Head of the army!). Nick spoke with eloquence about the challenge of recruiting, equipping and leading a fighting force at a time of demanding, near-constant operations in conflict zones. He was then followed by Tony Little, previously Head of Eton College and now Chief Education Officer at GEMS Education. Tony spoke with authority about the challenge of leading schools in a time of exponential change.
It was refreshing to realise that all organisations, even world-leading ones like the British Army and Eton College, have to experience change in order to move forward. It was reassuring to realise that the concerns and pressures that we experience are omnipresent in the world of education and that our journey is, in reality, proceeding as it must to ensure that the young people in our care get the very best provision within the constraints of what is possible.
John F Gilmour