Recently, I have been asked by a few people and organisations what advice and tips I would give to other Headteachers/Superintendents/Principals?

It has taken a while to draw up the list. Initially I intended a ‘Top Ten Tips‘ but narrowing the list down to ten proved difficult!  Instead I settled for ‘Top Twelve Tips‘.

Some may seem obvious to the more experienced School leader but I hope at least one helps and I also hope that there is agreement with most of the points on the list. For the more recently appointed Headteachers or educators hoping to lead a school one day, I hope this list is useful.

Top Twelve Tips (for School leaders)

1. Be the first in and last out of school (on most days).  Expect to work 50+ hour weeks – it is the job!

2. Never delegate a job that you would not do yourself.

3. Teach! At least 20% of the teaching allotment and if possible more. This is our passion, this is why we came into the profession.  So show your talent, model your ability and teach away!

4. Listen…actively.

5. Do what you say – See EVERY job through (or at least acknowledge when it is not possible).

6. Maintain the FOCUS: What is the best for the Students?

7. Organise: Fail to plan, plan to fail. Break things down and stay on top of things.

8. Stick to the school vision, mission and philosophy: do not let the small hiccups affect this.  Always remember the big picture and do not worry about the smaller issues that occur in between.

9. Be a role model in all aspects of school life (teaching, dress code, behaviour, be fair, be honest etc – everything!).

10. Have a life – switch off – have holidays (but you will need to check emails periodically!)

11. Network:  Have a family/community of Headteachers, be known and be helpful to others.

12. Know your stuff: Read read and read!

Yasir Patel

4 thoughts on “Top Twelve Tips

  1. Some great tips here and not just for newly appointed heads, hopefully, these tips would be relevant for everyone who works in a school. I think the most important one is number 3. I think a great head teacher should be working in the classroom and setting the pace and tone of their leadership with their ability to teach, first and foremost. Also you touch on integrity and this a vital component in building trust among teams. Do what you say you’re going to do, even if cripples you in the process. What about having fun in school with staff and students? I think having a sunny disposition and being friendly towards all is also a really important skill set, it shows you enjoy being around the students and you value your job.


    • Thanks.

      I like the phrase: ‘Do what you say you’re going to do, even if cripples you in the process’. This is so true as I leave another day at work, exhausted and 530pm! But necessary and worth it.

      Being ‘fun’ is a good one too and probably should be in the list – thanks!

      Another one that did not make the cut was ‘do not cross the friendship line with staff’. This can lead to being lonely (!) but very much worth it!


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