We appointed the ‘final’ member of our senior leadership team last week.

It was a surprise to all the current members (including the Head and I who were on the interview panel) because in our minds we knew that each candidate had some gaps (last time we interviewed for 2 assistant heads we were only able to appoint one – the brilliant Julia!) and weren’t sure who was going to turn out to have the least issues on the day.

Robin applied and although his presentation was good his interview didn’t refer to current practice as much as it should have and it seems that his leadership abilities are restricted to ‘managing’ and ‘doing’. 

It’s got me thinking about succession planning and CPD opportunities within school. Sometimes I think we allow ourselves to think that we should train staff about topics rather than jobs. So it’s relatively easy to train somebody about ‘The National Strategy’, ‘ICT across the curriculum’ or ‘special educational needs’; much trickier to train them on ‘leadership’ and yet how else are they going to be ready to step up for an internal (or even external) promotion.

I think in this current climate where headships, particularly in primary schools, are being left unfilled that we cannot afford to let such things fall to chance. We need to be developing opportunities for home-grown talent. In the case of our newly appointed assistant Headteacher – Jackie – the time she’d invested in shadowing other senior leaders paid off, her interview was excellent.