South Wales Head Teachers


  • Gareth Coombes, Lead School Improvement Advisor  Inspirational Leadership South Wales Head Teachers

    'Your training has had a truly remarkable impact on the heads' visions, practices and well being. Thanks. The feedback from the schools has consistently been that your work has been the single greatest event.'




The Background

In November 2008, the Newport Head Teachers Advisory Committee approached a number of training providers including Phoenix, looking for some leadership training aimed at a select and experienced ‘talent pool’ group of a primary school heads in the Local Education Authority area. Focusing on transferable, practical leadership skills and developing high-performance teams, they were clear from the outset that they wished to go outside the training typically available within school contexts (for example, through the National College for Schools Leadership), and gain some insights into best practice leadership specifically from a more commercial perspective. In terms of continuous professional development, this was seen as a supplementary event to the existing leadership development programme.

Phoenix’s Martin le Comte travelled down to Newport to meet face to face with the steering group, something none of the other providers offered, in order to discuss and fully understand the brief and the overall aims and objectives. As a result of meeting Martin, getting a clear sense of Phoenix’s expertise in this area, and receiving a proposal that accurately reflected their objectives, an initial two-day residential event was organised for May 2009.

Our Approach

In consultation with the client, Martin designed a two-day practical workshop entitled The Power of Inspirational Leadership. Building around Phoenix’s own Golden Rules of Leadership as well as Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II, the workshop looked at what makes a successful leader and the core competencies required, including feedback, coaching, motivation, influencing and flexibility. However, what really created the biggest impact was taking the participants beyond the ‘what’ of leadership into the ‘how’. This is the biggest challenge of any training or learning intervention – communicating how theory translates into action in the real world that a leader inhabits.

Following the training, all participants were given binders containing a digest of all the key learning from the session, and offered ongoing coaching and support by phone and email.

The Results

The results of the training have been truly transformational for the twelve participants. It was always intended that the initial event be followed up by a subsequent one the following year, but the group were so energised and enthused by the learning that this was brought forward so that they could cement and build upon the first two days with another two in October.

Participant feedback has been that the programme made a huge practical difference to how they were leading their schools. Many have the support notes binder on their desk at all times, and refer to it daily.

The LEA has been so impressed by the impact of the programme that they decided to roll it out to all head teachers in Newport. We have also now started doing the same for Cardiff Headteachers.

What The Client Says

An outstanding, thought provoking event that will impact so positively on schools and me. It lived up to its title of Inspirational Leadership.

Gareth Coombes – Lead School Improvement Advisor

Best professional development training ever – blows NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) and LPSH (Leadership Programme for Serving Head teachers) out of the water.

Liz Miles – Newport Head Teacher

I had to write and thank you for a most motivating and inspiring training session. You delivered a superb two days development in which you provided me and my colleagues with a more clear vision and understanding of effective leadership. You kept 12 head teachers extremely focused (which I appreciate is not an easy feat to undertake) and provided quality resources and research. It has been a very long time since I have experienced such a valuable and thought-provoking course.

Meryl Echeverry – Newport Head Teachers Association

I just need to add that I have visited most of cohort 1 and your training has had a truly remarkable impact on the heads’ visions, practices and well being. Thanks. The feedback from the schools has consistently been that your work has been the single greatest event – I am not one who exaggerates and I am not now.

Gareth Coombes – Lead School Improvement Advisor