Independent School Management Plus - Autumn 2022

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The Institute of Boarding Recognising MANAGEMENTprofessionalism INDEPENDENT SCHOOL The BUSINESS of INDEPENDENT EDUCATION Autumn 2022 plus Gavin Horgan ‘I don’t t into a box…’ School Culture Setting the tone and addressing the safeguarding challenges ADMISSIONSGOVERNORSBURSARS HEADS DEVELOPMENT In partnership with Personalised School Admissions PARTNERING WITH SCHOOLMANAGEMENTPLUS.COM

Jacob Holmes

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The independent school sector has made huge strides in recent years in strengthening safeguarding through safer staff recruitment, greater pupil awareness and voice, and the commitment of more resources and training. And, as evidenced by Robin Fletcher of the BSA Group (see Safeguarding p24) and Richard Harman of AGBIS (see Buckle Up p17), organisations supporting schools have also doubled down on their focus on safeguarding through important new initiatives.

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Those of us working in the sector know that UK schools are truly engaged and are doing more than ever to ensure that students are properly safeguarded. Yet, as the American minister and civil rights leader Benjamin E Mays helpfully reminds us: “The tragedy of life is not found in failure but complacency. Not in you doing too much but doing too little.”

The national inquiries into abuse in schools and other organisations IICSA (England and Wales) and SCAI (Scotland) have kept the spotlight burning, and the latest version of the National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools, in force from September in England, will strengthen safeguarding standards even

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All the measures taken by schools and supporting organisations can rightly give independent school parents surety that never has the welfare and safety of students been taken more seriously. Good safeguarding is a moral duty and has nothing to do with reputation management. But that does not mean that the significant work being done by independent schools to improve safeguarding cannot be shared proactively with parents and prospective parents during the autumn open days and all other key communication points in a clear and confident way.

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Let’s be bold! Let’s acknowledge, openly, what’s gone before and, in doing so, justifiably pivot the conversation onto everything we’ve done – and are continuing to do – to make things right. And safe.



Irena Barker

Painfulfurther.revelations from those who have suffered abuse, national inquiries and tougher regulations help independent schools to remain on the front foot on safeguarding, striving always to do more, supporting former and current students and relentlessly searching for better or even best practice.

he revelation this summer by broadcaster Nicky Campbell that he suffered ‘horrific abuse’ whilst at school in the 1970s shines a spotlight yet again on the critical importance of safeguarding.


No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the permission of the publisher. The information contained in Independent School Management Plus has been published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or damage caused by reliance on the information contained within this publication is hereby excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.

CEO of the BSA and the BSA Group

Louise Bennett

17 Partners:

CEO of the Girls’ School Association


Educational consultant, former Head of St Mary’s Calne and President of the Girls’ Schools Association

Robin Fletcher

CEO of IDPE (the Institute of ProfessionalsDevelopmentinEducation)

AMCIS CEO, former Marketing Director at Pocklington School and Marketing and Development Director at St Peter’s School, York

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development Journey 41 Point

6 In Conversation with Gavin Horgan Headmaster, Millfield School

female empowerment

18 Partners:

27 Organisational

Tory Gillingham

36DEVELOPMENTCaptialCampaign Fundraising The essentials 39 Partners: IDPE

MARKETING & ADMISSIONS Culture importance of a positive working environment Should I Stay or Should I Go Socially responsible school trips AMCIS School Culture; time for a reappraisal The of View decisions, initiatives and vanity projects


12 A Sense of Purpose Heather Hanbury, President, GSA AGBIS Buckle up! Challenges lie ahead GSA Fostering and

Nick Gallop



leadership 21BURSARSTheInstitute of Boarding Recognising the professional role of boarding staff 24 Partners: BSA Safeguarding; time for us to step up The Institute of Boarding Recognising MANAGEMENTprofessionalism INDEPENDENT SCHOOL The BUSINESS of INDEPENDENT EDUCATION plus Gavin Horgan ‘I don’t t into a box…’ School Culture Setting the tone and addressing the safeguarding challenges ADMISSIONSGOVERNORS BURSARS DEVELOPMENT partnership PARTNERING WITH SCHOOLMANAGEMENTPLUS.COM ON THE COVER The Institute of Boarding Page 21 12 A Sense of Purpose 6 In Conversation 32 Should I Stay or Should I Go

Bursar, King’s School Canterbury; previously Chairman, ISBA


CEO of AGBIS. Previously Headmaster of Aldenham and ofUppingham.subsequentlyPastChairmantheBSAandHMC

35 Partners:

Richard Harman


Headmaster, Brighton College International School, Bangkok; regular contributor to the TES and editor of Politics Review

Ian Hunt

Dr Helen Wright

Mark Taylor

Donna Stevens

School board member in the UK and Middle East, leader of nationalaeducationalinternationalprojectsandcontributortothepress


veryone at Millfield School in Somerset adheres to the school’s values – to be disruptors, to be curious, to be authentic, to be kind and to be brilliant. Gavin Horgan, the Headmaster, is no exception. Indeed, he sets out to be a disruptive force in education, arguing that curiosity, creativity and passion have been sidelined in a results-led culture. CONVERSATION WITH-



- IN

Zoe MacDougall talks to Gavin Horgan about his intentionally disruptive approach to education and his belief that curiosity and kindness are essential values for every student at Millfield.


As an alter native to the emphasis on knowledge recall at GCSE, Gavin advocates teaching children lifelong skills, particularly those suited to the contemporary workplace. Networking is the first skill on his list as being crucial to the formation of effective project groups, which are fundamental to so many working environments. In this context, he disarmingly suggests that there are very few things he can solve by himself. His skill is to find someone who can: “I have the world’s biggest Black Book on my phone, full of people who can solve problems when they arise. I’m a networking tart!” Additionally, Gavin wants to teach children the ability to be different people at different times, able to fulfil new roles in project groups as the need arises. He also recognises hard work as a skill. There are no soft options: “If children are finding things tough, sometimes we say to them, yes it’s tough – but get on with it!” Hardworking people get lucky is his view.

Curiosity has a crucial role to play in Gavin’s beliefs about education. So much so that his 11-year-old son spent the summer term – boarding for the first time – in Kenya! Gavin describes his son’s experience as a gem: “The sense of curiosity that we can see exploding in him is phenomenal. He told us about roaming the school site with a friend, and picking twenty prickly pears, and eating them all, and he thought that was amazing!” It’s that type of curiosity that Gavin wants to see in his students and staff at Millfield. This is his mantra: “If a teacher asks a child a question, that teacher should be curious about the answer. If in response to the child’s answer the teacher just says yes and moves on, then we’re going about education in the wrong way. We shouldn’t use questions to check up on children, but to start a dialogue withGavinthem.”believes that the lack of curiosity in the classroom has its roots in the National Strategies 1997-2011, when the DfE wanted to nail down what children were doing and, in doing so, gradually reduced everything in education into a series of functions. In fact, because they were so caught 

Millfield who have been told by other schools that they will never access GCSE English and Maths. Millfield proves otherwise.

Start a dialogue

Sense of curiosity


Gavin Horgan is the Headmaster of Millfield School. Raised in a mining village, Gavin attended Stonyhurst College on a bursary before progressing to read Classics at Oxford. He went on to teach in the state sector in Lambeth – “if your lesson lacked pace and interest you had a riot on your hands!” – before undertaking senior roles in international schools in Argentina and Sri Lanka. He returned to the UK to become Deputy Rector of the Glasgow Academy. Prior to joining Millfield in 2018, he was Head of Worksop College. Gavin says he took the role at Millfield “as the school is distinctly different and not shackled by tradition. It has the resource, the attitude and the capacity to lead the way and define education in the UK, now and in the future”.

Nationally dispensing with GCSEs is Gavin’s immediate disruptive aim. He questions the purpose of a national assessment at 16, when “one third of children are branded failures for not passing GCSE English or Maths. “That’s really wrong, it’s really sad.”

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Gavin’s view is that “GCSEs are being used to measure schools: if measuring a child’s intelligence is at issue, the CAT4 tests do that online in an hour. “Children need the opportunity to acquire functional, lifelong skills in English and Maths”, yet, for example, “GCSE English definitely doesn’t assess the English skills that you need for the rest of your life!” He believes that GCSEs rely on knowledge recall and an immediate understanding of information in written form – a model of assessment that is particularly alienating for the 40% of students with dyslexia at Millfield. In fact, Gavin expounds, having this number of dyslexic students gives Millfield a certain edge over other schools, because “Dyslexic people have had to work out their own route around any given problem. Such divergent thinking fosters hugely valuable creative skills. aremakesneoro-diversityOuriswhatusspecial.”Theredyslexicstudentsat


A certain edge

8 | | Autumn 2022

The Brilliance Curriculum, a new model for learning in place of the GCSE programme, is being launched at Millfield this autumn. It has been developed by teachers for children from 3-18 years old, prioritising Gavin’s core values of curiosity, creativity and employability. Group projects addressing children’s passions and interests will map tangible skills. Children will experience achievement through formative – and gritty –assessment whilst working through a particular challenge. The curriculum has a skills-based approach which recognises Bloom’s Taxonomy where the ability to remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create demonstrates a route of progression in learning. Dispensing with GCSEs in favour of a truly independent cur riculum could seem risky, but Gavin insists that it’s exciting!

up in delivering curriculum models under the National Strategies umbrella, Gavin feels that “being a teacher became like being a plumber: someone who was just delivering a series of parts and connecting them together.” Of course, he acknowledges the vital importance of plumbers, but says that’s not why teachers go into teaching. He wants every teacher to be curious, creative and passionate –qualities of true disruptors!

‘Calling out’


Gavin’s commitment to living by Millfield’s core values is a strong indicator of his own authenticity. He defines being authentic as “allowing other people to be authentic too, giving people space to be who they want to be without being judged for that”. When the student community represents 70 different nationalities – as at Millfield –finding credible space to be an individual within a unified whole is crucial. Everyone is recognised and applauded for who they are.

It can be difficult to uphold authenticity on social media. Standing up to cancel culture, Gavin is clear that “I should be able to say things that you maybe disagree with but which we can have a discussion about. And then we can agree to be fr iends and have a different conversation. I fear that, too often, if someone disagrees with you on social media about one thing, then they want to disagree with you about absolutelyNevertheless,everything.”Gavin wants his students to recognise that using their voice and ‘calling out’ on subjects of importance to them can make the world a better place.

He explains “I’m very lucky to be the Head of an independent school where people trust me. It’s the stuff that happens around the edges of formal education that makes for the development of children. Post-pandemic, parents now realise that more than ever before. And they want children to be happy. What I’m proposing is that we will deliver the Brilliance curriculum in place of GCSE, and in three years’ time we will see students getting better A-Level results and students who are happier and more successful when they leave us. That will be the best evaluation of our model.”

It is partly Millfield’s cultural and economic diversity that encourages authenticity. The school gives away £8.5 million in bursaries every year, funded from fee income. Effectively, wealthy families pay for those with less income to attend the school. Gavin’s ambition is to raise £100 million in bursary funds by 2035 in order to promote greater diversity within the student body still further.

Millfield has encouraged its students to react to climate change activism, Black Lives Matter and Everyone’s Invited with legitimate questioning and some tough but accurate discussions. Gavin believes that there has to be an appreciation that calling out against suffering and injustice can be done without shared experience and still be authentic. Gavin’s own rationale is down-to-earth.



I don’t fit into a box onwrittensufferingwithit.

Muscular kindness

During the pandemic, Millfield’s commitment to kindness meant that the school stepped up. They delivered every medical prescription which needed

“Look, I’m a white bloke, I was educated at Oxford and I’m Headmaster at Millfield; I don’t fit into a box with suffering written on it. But I can use my voice, and my students can use their voices, to improve outcomes for people who have suffered in a way that I do not understand. I will be an ally, an up-stander, to those who suffer.”

There is a bracing quality about Gavin which is best described by his definition of kindness: “I talk about kindness as being quite a muscle thing.” Gavin goes further with his definition: “Kindness is your mate telling you that you’ve screwed up and that you need to go back and sort things out, and holding you to account until you do.” He believes kindness is about more than sharing your sweets; kindness at Millfield, as Gavin defines it, is something solid to hang on to and makes students and colleagues alike into friends for life.


ZOE MACDOUGALL is an educational commentator with extensive teaching experience in the independent and maintained sectors. Zoe also contributes to

Transforming lives


Gavin is proud of Millfield’s position as a vivid and vital element of the wider Somerset scene, where twelve members of staff are governors in local schools. Gavin’s aim is not to sit above the town of Street where Millfield is located but to live alongside it. His is a relaxed and personable approach to community life: “I know a lot of people who just walk past the gates – and I think they know me!”

delivering across the whole region. In parallel, Gavin was worried about what lockdown meant for children on free school meals. So Millfield set up and funded a programme to provide an entire week’s food for every family who had a free school meal entitlement in the town. As the programme caught on, these food hampers – delivered by Millfield staff – were feeding over a thousand people a week. That was kindness through hard graft and a willingness to embrace a grittier side of life.

Gavin closed our conversation with an uplifting story which illustrates his faith in discovering brilliance in every child. “We have had one student here who was actually registered homeless. She was sofa-surfing when she came to me. Tessa Munt, a local councillor and previously MP for Wells, saw the girl’s qualities at a schools’ leadership event. She asked if I would help. And I said yes. We offered her a place in boarding. She’s now off to study medicine. There’s proof for you that education transforms lives.” ●

10 | | Summer 2022 ADVERTORIAL Education laptops in an exciting new way! Supercharge teaching and learning with: A 360° fully managed Zeroservicestudent digital Thedowntimeoption for parents to purchase/rent direct A broad fortrustededucationDeliveredsustainableportfoliodeviceincludingmodelsbyanpartnerbyUKschoolsover15yearsTo find out more and book a call back visit: Class Technology Solutions Ltd, Registered in England and Wales (Registration no 5683597) –VAT No 974988731. Registered Office, Class Technology Solutions Ltd, Frazer House, 14 Carfax, Horsham, RH12 1DZ. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 948794). Financial Conduct Authority FCA &AuthorisedRegulated Your partner for laptops in education

If you have outsourced your provision and made sure that the provider is offering a service with minimal downtime, you can confidently begin a program of digital CPD, knowing that your teachers and students have the tools to follow through in the classroom.

Look at what programs will be used, where the device will physically be, and what is it that is attempting to be achieved with the device at each stage. You can access a free Device Journey Template at easy4u. school/device_journey to help you with this process.

It can mean no capital outlay, reduced admin and keepinghappySomeensurewarrantyonTeam,workmaintenanceforyourITandgreatratesinsuranceandextensionstopeaceofmind.providersareeventoworkwithyouwhilstthecostimpactentirely off the school’s books, reducing the workload for your Finance Team and demonstrating value and transparency to your parents.

Having 1-2-1 devices in the classroom enriches your student’s learning environment, but are there things you could be doing to extract more value? A good teacher CPD program, specifically focused on ensuredevicetechnologysupportingintegrationintoclassroomlessonsisprobablyoneofthemostvaluablewaysyoucanbuildonyourprovisionandlong-termimpact.

How are you measuring the return on the investment you and your parents are making? One of the biggest negative impacts on the successful use of technology in the classroom is device down time. If teachers cannot guarantee every student will have access to an appropriate and familiar device for the full duration of every lesson, it limits the reliance teachers can put on utilising the devices throughout lessons. Whilst lots of relevant measures (learning outcomes, teacher workload reduction etc) can be


hard to quantify or attribute directly to a 1-2-1 scheme, student digital downtime can be calculated accurately and easily, with the gold standard of course being 0%.

Value adding?

Specs and standards?


You may currently be providing and supporting your classroom devices inhouse; the school purchases a device for each student and teacher and employed IT staff ensure that these devices are maintained and repaired. Could you out-source this? Working with a trusted partner company can prove to be a highly cost-effective way to deliver a standardised Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scheme.


UK independent schools are known for setting the highest standards in education in the UK, supporting local state schools, their communities, and building charitable partnerships with schools across the world. High profile digital education brands such as Microsoft, Apple and Google all want to see schools using their technology in successful and innovative ways and have created programs which schools can join to showcase their dedication to outstanding digital teaching and learning. Thinking about whether you would like to be a flagship digital school and building this into your device strategy is well worth the effort. It can help to attract the best teaching talent, open funding opportunities, and raise the school’s profile.

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Whether delivering your provision in-house or out-sourcing you want to make sure the devices you and your parents invest in are fit for purpose. If you are outsourcing, your partner should be able to help you with this but knowing what types of programs you will want to run, the life term of the devices you expect, and whether you are wedded to a particular brand are all good things to think about. Consider creating two example usage journeys for a typical teacher device and a typical student device.

Leading the way?

There are so many options and opportunities when it comes to classroom technology that it can feel overwhelming, and the rate of change is huge so it can be hard to keep up. But ensuring your classroom provision is high quality and consistent creates a great foundation on which to build. ●

Education has been utilising technology to improve teaching and learning for many years, but the impact of the pandemic over the last few years has accelerated this process and propelled in-classroom device use to new heights. Now we are settling back into business as usual, it’s worth taking the time to review your classroom device provision and to assess whether it is optimised to deliver your priorities for your school, students, and parents.

To find out more about the latest ways that you can deliver a successful 1-2-1 device scheme, visit

Written by Jo Hopper, EdTech Professional and former school governor.

Inhouse or outsource?


Role models

At the school I lead, there are things that we work hard to encourage and instil in our girls – a sense of curiosity, the confidence to take risks knowing that failure is an essential part of learning, the support and kindness to keep you going through tough times, and a belief that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. These things are all equally important for everyone who works at our school: because we are all role models of these attitudes and behaviours every day and because staff need these things too, especially a sense of togetherness when things aren’t going to Theplan.chance to play a part in staff career planning is a highlight for me and I often share my own stories of failure and success. It is incredibly rewarding to sit down with colleagues and help them work out what they want to achieve,

Heather Hanbury, the President of the GSA, looks back on her path to educational leadership and discusses the importance she attaches to nurturing a positive school culture that supports both students and staff.

leading a school. It’s a diverse role that calls on many different skills and qualities – often all in the same day, sometimes the same hour. One of the greatest privileges a headteacher has is the responsibility of setting the tone and building and maintaining a school’s culture – something that influences every aspect of school life and the experiences of everyone involved with it.


My first job was in a very different sector: I worked for a big management consultancy firm (great training for headship, although I didn’t know that at the time). Naively, I quickly set my sights on being a senior partner – the fact that there weren’t any female partners at that time didn’t feel like a good enough reason not to have the ambition! But I fell out of love with the job long before I made partner, and moved into my second career, convinced once again that I wanted to run the charity in which I was a fundraising manager before realising that wasn’t for me either. Embarrassment forced me to re-assess my future more carefully. I didn’t want a third boring outcome and so at last set my sights on headship – step one: train to be a teacher!

One thing I did realise, after eight years in consultancy and two in corporate fundraising for an international development charity, was that I wanted to be part of an organisation that was making a genuine difference. The idea of belonging to a community really appealed to me. It turns out that fundraising wasn’t for me as a full-time job in the long term, but the values that had drawn me to that type of role are ultimately what led me to teaching.

and why. Understanding the drivers and motivations behind their ambitions is the starting point, and often these conversations lead to new thoughts about ways to approach things. I always say that it’s important to have a plan or a goal, but it is even more important to be willing to change these plans if new opportunities arise. All our roadmaps should change over time, just as our lives change. One huge advantage of working in a school is that it is possible to do, every day, something that ignites your spark – there aren’t many jobs that can boastCareersthis! advice is clearly essential for our pupils, and it’s just as vital for the staff teams we build and lead as headteachers.

Autumn 2022 | | 13

wanted to do was run a business. I was drawn to the idea of allresponsibilityandcreatetogetherpeoplebringingtosuccesshavingforIimaginedthis to involve. The idea felt exhilarating to me rather than daunting. I was also sure that, whatever I did in my career, it had to be worthwhile and in pursuit of something more than money alone.

My route to educational leadership was not linear or conventional, and I took time to get to where I wanted to be. I was appointed to my first headship at 48 with the conviction that if I didn’t make it by 50 I’d be too late. Things are different now and I would challenge the assumption that there’s a time limit on achieving career goals, especially when the age of retirement is what it is today. We should take the pressure off ourselves to be in senior level positions by a certain age. Of course, not everybody wants to be a headteacher. The choices we make, sometimes by design, sometimes by chance, all bring new perspectives and qualities that are

Making a genuine difference

When I started out in my career, I can honestly say I had no idea that being a headteacher would give me the best and most fulfilling years of my working life. Teaching wasn’t written in the stars at all. Frankly, when I left university, I just took the first job I could get and, from this, I grew to understand that what I really

Best and fulfilling years

important in life generally, as well as in educational leadership roles.

All our road maps changeshouldovertime

HEATHER HANBURY is Head of Lady Eleanor Holles School (LEH) and President of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA)

Laugh while you work

failed. I applied for 14 headships before I was offered one – and then I was offered two in same week! The most important learning for me was to get back up, to keep trying, and not to give up. Feedback to interview candidates is incredibly important and I do sometimes share my own experiences to reassure others that setbacks don’t have to be permanent roadblocks. There’s always another way around or through. Diversions can be a springboard and can help us look at things through a different lens, often helping us gain more insight than we realise in the moment.

Teaching wasn’t written in the stars

Have a go, don’t allow fear of failure to put you off, and remember that the route to your end goal will rarely be a straight line. ●

As teachers, one of our jobs is to equip children and young people with what they need to be successful in the future, not just in terms of the academic subjects they study, but also in the skills they develop, which they will draw on no matter what role they choose in life. We are often reminded that we are preparing pupils for the jobs and opportunities that don’t yet exist and which, in the not-toodistant past, would probably have been trail-blazed by men. If there’s something that fires me up every day, it’s the idea that I can help shift a mindset towards naturally thinking “of course I can do that” about anything. This isn’t limited to the pupils at my school; I feel every bit as passionate about supporting staff, regardless of their gender, to think and act this way.

SchoolHollesEleanorLadyphotos:All 14 | | Autumn 2022

often-difficult everyday tasks become far less complex. No matter what is going on, there is a simple question at the heart of every decision. For us, it’s always “is this good for our pupils?”


When I started my career in education in 1996, I knew that my goal was to lead a school. It brought together all the things I wanted in a career. To me, there isn’t a more worthwhile sector to work in because what we do contributes to all areas of society, and because schools are such joyful places. It’s not always easy, but the work we do always matters.

To lead successfully in education, one of the most important skills needed is the ability to create a culture that values and harnesses the power of the community and which demonstrates togetherness and kindness every day and at every level. It’s important that staff support pupils with compassion and understanding, and so we should support one another in the same way. Schools need to be places where you can laugh while you work and, during tougher times, find people around you to lean on and help you get through. A shared sense of purpose is also key. In a school – whatever your role within it – when you have a shared vision, the

Fear of failure

Something else I challenge in every aspect of my role is perfectionism. There is a lot to be gained from being imperfect and from failing. It is really important to give things a go, take that risk, even if you are unsure of success. And once again, this applies to everyone in the school, from pupils to teachers, to all the other staff. For staff, it is particularly important when thinking about career next steps. I’ve had eight jobs in my life, but more than 70 interviews – that’s how often I’ve


Sectional modular is where components are manufactured then pieced together onsite, while volumetric modular describes complete units transported to site.The sectional approach generally requires less transportation energy, offers more flexibility in site location and bespoke building design from in-house architects.

healthy, hygienic interior air quality. Living roofs also help to reduce water runoff.

Easy access to the outdoors and nature is now more important than ever. It helps with well-being and is proven to improve educational outcomes. Deck areas and wide canopies can be easily accessed with large external doors which can be a helpful tool in managing social distancing.


Environmental impact

Manufacturing takes place offsite whilst groundworks are undertaken followed by rapid construction reducing time spent onsite by up to 70% versus a traditional build. Once planning approval is attained, a smaller building can be completed in just 6 weeks. Furthermore, the modular process usually costs significantly less than traditional building methods: larger buildings can be delivered for as little as £1600 per sqm.

have built over 800 Eco Buildings in 19 years, are members of Construction Line Gold, partners with the Institute of School Business Leadership, and customers score 4.9 out of 5, based on 174 reviews. ●

Components are manufactured in a controlled environment so are kept dry and safe until they are delivered to site. This also means less disruption as the building site can be self-contained and site access managed accordingly.

Most of TG Escapes’ buildings are inherently biophilic, using predominantly natural materials and a design that provides huge amounts of natural light.

Buildings loved by staff and students alike

Disruption and quality control

“TG Escapes took a project that was unaffordable as a traditional build and through bespoke modular design and construction delivered an affordable outstanding building on time and in-budget. An impressive feat particularly during a global pandemic and Brexit”. Adrian Maxey, Director of Estates & Facilities St TGJosephs.Escapes


Modular construction uses less energy than traditional methods. In addition, when timber is used as the primary material along with low impact foundations, it reduces the embodied carbon of the building. TG Escapes Modular Eco-Buildings for example, have been working with The Carbon Trust to build a model which measures the embodied carbon in their buildings enabling customers to offset and ensure a carbon neutral building.

Energy efficient and healthy

Access to the outdoors and biophilic design

“Both children and staff love learning and working in the building due to the amount of natural light and space. Free flow access to a covered deck is a huge advantage so that outdoor learning can take place in all weathers.” Sam Patel, Director of School Development Bickley Park

TG Escapes conduct regular research amongst customers in education. The feedback shows that these ‘natural’ buildings feel very different to other types of learning spaces.

independent schools now in need of extra space will be considering which building approach is best for them. More modern methods of construction using a modular offsite manufacturing process can be an excellent option. Cheaper than a traditional build, they are also quicker, less disruptive and have lower environmental impact.

To achieve an A+ energy rating, make use of sun pipes, solar PV, smart lighting, wood fibre insulation, reduced thermal bridging and airtight construction. Adaptable ventilation systems can reduce heating bills by a factor of 3 as well as providing a

Speed and cost

Think beyond the MIS Reporting In-depth reports and analysis throughout iSAMS Assets A central location for all asset management HR & Payroll Self-service HR and integrated payroll Finance A complete accounting and fee billing solution Payments A secure, convenient way for parents to pay school fees online Academics Effective suite of academic tools for staff Admissions Simple, paperless admissions for parents and staff Wellbeing Raise and monitor student concerns Integrations API and third-partyavailableintegrations Administration Tools to administrationstreamlinetasks Communication Apps and portals for teachers, students and parents iSAMS connects every area of school life to transform your way of working www.isams.comScan the QR code to find out more

considers the myriad of challenges facing school governors across the considerscountry.themyriad

Other significant financial pressures must be faced too. The current inflationary environment will lead to higher expectations on salaries and is hiking up other costs. Meantime, the likelihood of recession on the near horizon and a challenging taxation environment for fee-paying parents implies a significant hit on budgets in the next couple of years. Careful planning and very robust cost control will be vital. And that’s not to mention the rise in contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and the recent court judgement about holiday pay in the Harpur Trust

Autumn 2022 | | 17

When looking at strategy, it will be essential to consider both the school’s local context and the wider national and international scene. In the political sphere our sector remains under scrutiny, with talk of grammar school expansion back on the Conservative agenda and the threat of imposing VAT on school fees on Labour’s. The removal of mandatory business rates relief is already a reality in Scotland and seems likely to happen down South as well.

England, an ISI consultation is underway on a new inspection framework to take effect in 2023. There is no doubt this will usher in changes for all our member schools in the future. And Safeguarding should always be at the top of our agendas.



With all this in mind, governors and leadership teams will need to have Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at the centre of their strategic approach as they seek to ensure that the culture in school is as healthy and positive as it can be. Again, this circles back to the key question of strategy - but it is also about effective implementation. The best strategy and sharpest policies in the world will not keep children safe and help them thrive, without the right people in place and a clear alignment between values and day-to-day practice.


we move into the autumn and a new school year, and the memories of this long hot summer begin to fade, what are the key things on which school leaders, and particularly governors, need to focus?

Healthy and positive


For governors, the good news is that AGBIS is here to help; there are great resources on our website ( uk) and we have a highly responsive members’ helpline. ●


v Brazel case. School leaders will need to be fully up to speed on these compliance.andinspectionasforwatchareasOthermatters.tooutinclude,ever,regulatoryIn

After the traumas of this past couple of years, one key point will be to ensure that the school’s post-Covid recovery is going well. Questions to consider will include: staff well-being (including the resilience of the leadership team); what adjustments now need to be made to the medium-term school strategy; and the importance of open, empathetic communication with stakeholders.


GSA Annual Conference for Heads 2022

Encouraging understandinginner

It is GSA’s firm belief that through encouraging inner understanding in young women to champion themselves and trust their own abilities and aspirations, they have the potential to lead and create a more equitable future world for women.

Empathy, collaboration and teamwork


Monday 21 to Tuesday 22 November 2022 at The Tower Hotel, London. Audience: Head of a GSA School, GSA Associate Member, Emeritus Member, International Member or Fellow, Non-GSA Member

Over two days, GSA will discuss how modern all-girls’ educations must encourage young women to capitalise on their much-lauded soft power skillsets of empathy, collaboration, and teamwork, and explain how using these more evolved competencies help unlock authentic, fulfilling and fascinating lives. Showing first-hand how varied a life well-lived can be, and joining in the debates, are highly respected and prominent speakers that include: journalist and broadcaster Matthew Syed, record-breaking Atlantic rowing trio: Abby Johnstone, Charlotte

collaborative atmosphere designed to inspire new thinking and grow their own professional networks. Carefullyselected keynote speakers and guests bring pertinent issues into fresh focus, and expertly hosted workshops provide new takeaways, toolkits, and practical techniques. A must for Heads keen to discuss and share the most up-to-date thinking on creating and developing extraordinary educations for girls. Tickets can be secured now.

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GSA’s 2022 Annual Conference will take place in London at the Tower Hotel overlooking Tower Bridge.

Irving and Kat Cordiner, and Kelly Lindsey, formerly a member of the US Women’s football team and coach to the Afghanistan Women’s team, now Head of Performance at Lewes FC, the first gender-equal football club in the country.

GSA’s expert understanding and perspective underpins the whole event which will explore everything that is pressing, important and relevant in girls’ education today; delegates can expect to meet colleagues in a supportive and

developing girls’ confidence in their own purpose and power so that they can choose the lives they want to lead in the future. Setting out an argument for girls to learn to value their own talents and play to their own strengths, the conference will explore how girls’ schools are uniquely placed to do just this, and why it is so important in modern society and to women’s success in it.

Expert understanding and perspective

Autumn 2022 | | 19

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Representing a boarding school, however – a bricks and mortar entity, whether it is open and full of students and staff or closed for the summer break – is different from representing boarding staff, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.TIOB had its genesis in 2016 when two senior members of the boarding school community separately in the same week raised with me the issue of professional recognition for staff working in boarding.


Autumn 2022 | | 21 BURSARS

Robin Fletcher discusses the role of the newly launched The Institute of Boarding in formalising and acknowledging the professional role and contribution of dedicated boarding staff.

Now imagine you are not a director, a management consultant, a tourist guide, fire engineer or a groundsman (or woman). Instead you work in a boarding house at a school providing vital pastoral care for perhaps around 50 students who could be as young as eight or as old as 19.

Since 1965, the BSA has developed into the largest network of boarding schools in the world with more than 630 members in 39 countries.

I asked them to work together to devise plans for a new scheme resulting in the launch of the Accredited Boarding Practitioner (ABP) programme, jointly run with BSA’s sister association in Australia, ABSA. ABP works by offering boarding staff a one-off chance to have their experience recognised

What do the Institutes of Tourist Guiding, Fire Engineers and Groundsmanship all have in common?

That is why Boarding Schools’ Assocation Group (BSA Group) has now launched The Institute of Boarding (TIOB), the world’s first professional institute for boarding staff.

In a previous life when I ran my own communications company, I belonged to two such organisations – the Institute of Directors (IoD), and the Institute of Management Consultants (IoMC). Both provided me with useful information and support, and in the case of the IoD, helpful meeting rooms in different parts of the UK, plus access to the First Class lounges at UK airports!

Apart from sharing the word ‘institute’ they all represent people working in specialist professions or sectors. Not the organisations they work for, but real individual people.

Boarding staff have been performing this role at King’s Canterbury boarding school since the year 597, making it perhaps one of the UK’s oldest professions. Yet despite 1,500 years of demonstrated best practice, those working in boarding have until now had less formal, professional recognition than tour guides. This seems odd and wrong – without wishing to offend the tour guide profession!

Representing boarding staff

The job you do is important. It takes time, skill and a facility to multi-task, work very long hours, deal with myriad unexpected situations and above all keep young people (often from many different countries and cultures) safe and well.

House staff dedicated to boarding duties

Professional recognition

The wider benefit, however, was not about rooms and airport lounges but about sending a message to others about me, my skills and experience – in other words, professional recognition.

Although it will take a while for these letters to become familiar to others, it is hoped that as TIOB grows over time, the boarding sector will get used to them and give them value, most obviously for schools recruiting staff or TIOB members applying for roles.

Former military personnel for instance, used to working with young people in other formal settings, could be attractive to schools as boarding house parents, bringing with them additional experience which could be used to support a school cadet force, for instance, or run outdoor activity programmes.

strong role models

Another benefit of TIOB for both schools and members is addressing an increasing challenge in the sector around filling boarding house roles.

The idea of TIOB is to build on the principles of ABP, but rather than a one-off assessment of experience, it will be a permanent support for individual boarding staff.

Myriad backgrounds

But if teachers are not volunteering for boarding duties as much as they once did, and making it compulsory might make it difficult to recruit new teachers in the first place, what are schools going to do when it comes to long-term boarding staff planning?

‘Letters after your name’

Many schools still run a model where teaching staff do boarding duties alongside their classroom work (with teaching loads being reduced substantially for housemasters and housemistresses). However, it is clear that some younger staff coming into schools are not as keen as their predecessors at the idea of the extra hours boarding can add, especially during evenings and at weekends, on top of very busy day jobs.

That is why TIOB has a dedicated website with resources boarding staff can access, blogs from experienced boarding staff, and a list of courses and workshops focusing on working in the boarding sector. That is why it also has a dedicated Director (Lorraine Atkins, former principal of Padworth College and Bishopstrow College) and an Executive Committee made of representatives from independent, state, prep and international boarding.

One of the answers is to consider having house staff dedicated to boarding duties without the requirement to teach, especially as this presents the opportunity to bring in more mature entrants from myriad backgrounds such as military, social service, nursing, youth management or other non-traditional settings.



Until recently the idea that schools would not be able to find a ready, steady supply of future boarding staff has never been questioned.

Boarding staff planning

| | Autumn 2022

One of the most obvious benefits of TIOB, however, is the opportunity for its members to have recognition in a genuine, external form through ‘post-nominal designation’ which is a complicated way of describing letters after your name.

Like ABP, there are four levels of membership for TIOB (Support, Member, Fellow and Emeritus) and members can use the letters MTIOB (Member, TIOB) after their name as soon as they join.

at four levels, with Level 4 being the highest. The scheme has proved very popular, with now more than 1,000 ABP members from over 300 schools around the world.

Well placed to help

The missing piece

It will also help schools to distinguish more easily those simply casting around for any job in any setting from those who genuinely have an interest in boarding. And perhaps that can play a part in shifting the dial away from the orthodox view that ‘only’ those who have taught can work in boarding houses.

This passage demonstrates the importance of boarding and the even greater importance of having qualified, caring and professional staff to do it. If TIOB can play a part in supporting those people and the profession in which they work, it will be doing its job. ●

Commitment, seriousness and intent

With more than 1,200 existing members worldwide across four other member associations, BSA Group is confident that it is well placed to help its newest member, TIOB, to flourish.

We would be delighted to welcome boarding staff anywhere in the world to TIOB. But whatever its scale and size, it is important that TIOB is there to support those interested in working in boarding, those who are currently working in boarding, those taking a career break, or those who used to work in boarding.


Until 2019 there was only BSA, with around 600 members, and no BSA Group.

Although a good idea in isolation, the ability of TIOB to offer real support, grow and expand its services in a meaningful, secure way, is helped by it being part of the wider BSA Group.

This means that Lorraine Atkins as TIOB Director is able to call upon the wider assets of BSA Group, whether that’s colleagues helping to plan webinars, courses and events or others developing strong communications or enrolling members.

“Fundamentally, the boarding team need to be utterly passionate about looking after children and possess the qualities needed to be a strong role model, demonstrating the core values of the school and the house.

Similarly, someone with a nursing background who might more traditionally be considered for a school nurse or matron role, could also be an interesting candidate as a house parent.

Those from such richly varied backgrounds trying to enter a sector which might not readily understand the value of their professional experience can now use first-level TIOB membership (entering boarding, or less than two years’ service) as a way to demonstrate their commitment, seriousness and intent.

BSA Group is also aware that with thousands of boarding staff working at member schools across the world, TIOB could develop to become its largest association.

Autumn 2022 | | 23

To understand the role of TIOB and its value for professional boarding staff we must also understand the huge importance of the role of boarding staff in supporting young people.

“This is incredibly important as young people boarding need to know that the very people looking after them want to be there and have their best interests at heart. The staff also need to exercise their own judgement around things so things aren’t black and white. Every child needs a champion within the boarding house, that they know will look out for them at all times.”

ROBIN FLETCHER is CEO of BSA and the BSA Group ( For more information on The Institute of Boarding (TIOB) visit

The two common denominators of TIOB are individual people and boarding. Boarding has always been at the heart of BSA Group, but with the emphasis and accent on the school and its staff, rather than simply the staff themselves. TIOB is the missing piece of the BSA Group jigsaw, and we are very excited about using our experience and resources to offer it to the boarding sector.

Will Goldsmith, Headmaster of St George’s prep school, Windsor and a member of TIOB’s executive committee, captured this well in the book A Culture of Care (BSA Group, 2021):

Now however, BSA and TIOB have sister associations in SACPA (Safeguarding and Child Protection Association) with around 440 members, BAISIS (British Association of Independent Schools with International Students) with around 140 members and HIEDA (Health in Education Association) with around 100 members.

In many schools in England, the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead falls to someone with many other duties. Only now are we starting to see some schools recruiting specialist safeguarding professionals, often from outside the education sector, which surely is a model all schools could or should consider?

The IICSA inquiry and high-profile cases in the media remind us that there are still many lessons to be learned and that we must look long and hard at what more we could and should be doing. We can’t simply expect that new standards will solve things: safeguarding in our schools is something that will never be ‘done’ or ticked off on a list.

During this summer, I’ve been considering a question I believe all schools should currently be asking themselves: what more can we do to keep students safe?


Peer-on-peer abuse

BSA’s sister association Safeguarding and Child Protection Association (SACPA) was launched to support those with safeguarding responsibilities. It has more than 250 members in 25 countries and has provided training for over 2,000 people. This is as an encouraging sign. But the challenge remains, so that in 30 years’ time a former pupil who becomes a respected broadcaster recalls how safe they felt at boarding school instead of revealing the abuse they suffered. ●

The publication of the IICSA’s final Residential Schools Investigation Report, and of the new National Minimum Standards for Boarding Schools, underlines that now is the time to take safeguarding in boarding schools to another level, says Robin Fletcher.

Lessons to be learned


Safeguarding in our schools is something that will never be ‘done’

Top football clubs have dedicated safeguarding teams in place to look after their young players. Why shouldn’t ‘premier league’ schools do so too?

is CEO of the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) and the BSA Group.

I’m writing this days after broadcaster Nicky Campbell spoke about the abuse he and other pupils experienced at Edinburgh Academy, an independent school, in the 1970s. Over the summer, we’ve also heard journalist Alex Renton’s BBC Radio Four

As a sector, we’ve undoubtedly made progress in introducing new safeguarding measures in recent years. Looking back to my time boarding – an era before the Children Act – which meant that between 9am and 7pm younger pupils were the responsibility of prefects, themselves occasionally under the influence of alcohol. There were no teaching staff around and nothing to stop things like ‘initiation ceremonies’ or equivalent behaviour, which would now quite rightly be called peer-onpeerThingsabuse.have moved forward and today’s boarders are cared for and closely supervised by caring, highly qualified boarding staff. But is it enough? Perhaps or perhaps not. It is easy to believe that we make safeguarding students our number one priority at all times, but is this really true when schools are so busy doing so many things simultaneously?

series, In Dark Corners, look closely at some shocking historic abuse cases in boarding schools. Earlier this year, we saw the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) final Residential Schools Investigation Report published and, by the time you read this, the new National Minimum Standards (NMS) for boarding schools in England. Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance will also have been implemented in England. In short, it’s time to take safeguarding in boarding schools to a new level.

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understood it is one of the biggest traps we can fall into as school leaders.

Michael Bond believes that a positive school culture is central to creating a workplace in which colleagues can thrive and contribute.

Here are my top insights for establishing a positive workplace culture within your school community.

Well, the first and most important point is that organisational culture happens in every workplace in every country, whether you ignore it or spend all of your time working on it. So, above all, be a school where it’s talked about – a lot – so that no-one is in any doubt as to its importance and what is meant by a ‘healthy’ organisational culture.

As a rule of thumb, the point at which we become sick of hearing ourselves communicate, a key message is usually the point at which some people will hear it for the first time. That’s over-communication and it’s a crucial part of establishing a positive workplace culture.

Once this has happened, it’s important to overcommunicate, through words, behaviours and symbols, what you stand for and why it’s willorsomethingthatTheimportant.assumptionifwe’vesaidoncetwice,peoplehaveheardand

Establishing a positive workplace culture


Building Trust


In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni suggests that groups of people can work together most effectively and most enjoyably if they all subscribe to certain core principles. His books are mostly fables, in which he narrates a fictional episode in the life of an organisation to illustrate his thinking. I’d recommend all Lencioni’s books if you haven’t come across

One of the questions with which we’re all grappling – within and beyond education – is the extent to which the pandemic has led, or will lead, to permanent change to workplace environments. Some believe that all but the most operational changes made as a result of Covid-19 will evaporate almost as quickly as they were incorporated. Others suggest that we have an opportunity to make or embed changes that wouldn’t have been possible, or certainly not likely, were it not for the events of the last twoSo, can schools establish and maintain a healthy organisational culture post-Covid?

The Negativity Bias

On the other hand, when things go well it tends to be like water off a duck’s back and we soon forget about ourThissuccesses.isthe‘Negativity

The third insights I would offer for creating a healthy organisational culture is ‘Black Box Thinking’.

them, but The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is his most well-known.Inbrief,to explain Lencioni’s thesis, an absence of trust leads to a fear of healthy conflict; without healthy conflict people tend to focus only on their direct area of work and lack interest in or commitment to the shared goals of the organisation. They work in silos and either don’t care about what goes on in other departments, or they actively want others to fail. This leads to an avoidance of accountability – a ‘not my problem’ mentality – all of which means that the sum of the organisation’s parts is less, not more, than its individual components.


Black Box Thinking

By flipping each of those dysfunctions – starting with building trust – the whole model can be reversed and Lencioni describes how teams can move from ineffectiveness to dynamism.

Part of a healthy organisational culture is training ourselves to focus on and celebrate our successes in a systematic and intentional manner.

Bias’: human beings have survived in part because we have evolved to be alert to danger. We’re hard wired to notice things that are wrong or incorrect and because our brains can only hold so much information, they’re programmed to retain things that might be useful to our survival. That means, in the modern world, we dwell on the negatives and often forget the positives.

evening thinking about what you did wrong rather than the things you’ve done well.


I’m sure that – like me – even if you achieve 10 things in a day but you make one mistake, you’ll spend most of the

But what is meant by a healthy view of failure? Well, it means ensuring that in your school failure is seen as part of both individual and organisational development so long as we all seek the resulting learning opportunities when things go Embeddingwrong.aBlack Box Thinking approach can be a powerful and effective ingredient in building a positive workplace culture.

Part of a Black Box Thinking culture includes the concept of Radical Candour; this is a model proposed by the author Kim Scott.

One way to ensure that the views and opinions of everyone within the entire school workforce are heard and valued, is for leaders to have weekly advertised open-door sessions when any colleague can come and talk to them about anything. It’s important to emphasise that this shouldn’t be seen as either a means of bypassing the normal line-management structure or of getting your own way if you haven’t already had the answer for which you were looking! Rather it should be presented as a means of showing that leaders are approachable and open-minded and that they want ideas and suggestions on how to do things better. This only works if you communicate examples of where you’ve listened and responded to suggestions put forward via these open-door sessions. Consider keeping a central log of the ideas others have suggested in your sessions and publishing it periodically. And don’t be frightened about explaining the things you haven’t done in response to feedback, too. People tend to respect us more when we explain why decisions have been made.

open-door SESSIONS

Next, here are some practical tips for achieving a positive culture which you can take away today and implement without any cost – other than time – in your school.

Indra Nooyi is the CEO who oversaw the transformation and expansion of PepsiCo’s activities beyond the production of unhealthy sugary drinks and, in the process, managed to grow the company, thereby confounding her sceptics who said that it couldn’t be done.


Practical implementation

The premise is that our dealings with others fall into one of four categories, three of which are unhelpful and counterproductive, especially when things aren’t going well or mistakes have been made.


Glimpse of Brilliance

The two axes are care personally and challenge directly. If we don’t care enough about the people with whom we work, we’ll either deal with them in a way that is insincere and manipulative or obnoxiously aggressive.

On the other hand, if we care about our colleagues but don’t tell them when we think they’re wrong, we risk being ruinously empathetic, which isn’t helpful either, because it means the problem at hand is likely to remain or get worse.

It’s only when we care sufficiently about our colleagues and our work to have difficult conversations directly, that we achieve the concept ‘radical candour’ (sometimes known as compassionate candour).

Radical Candour

If you haven’t come across the book Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed, it’s another one I recommend. Its central premise is that organisations that take a healthy view of failure tend to be much more successful than those that don’t.

Now used systematically in organisations from the NHS to the fast food chain Leon, and introduced by the organisation Core Strengths, this is a simple but powerful concept which provides an opportunity to shout about the fantastic achievements of individual team members. If done well, it can make a real difference. Whether it’s a standing item in department or whole school staff meetings; whether it’s a notice board in offices; or whether it’s in student assemblies, celebrating Glimpses of Brilliance is a practical way of focusing on and praising positive achievements.

Assume Positive Intent

In an interview with Fortune Magazine she was asked what was the most important leadership advice she’d been given and this is what she said:

Autumn 2022 | | 29

Positive influencers who are encouraged and supported can generate energy and enthusiasm which is infectious. The aphorism ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ is absolutely true in this context.

Within schools – as in all other walks of life – there can be a temptation to sweep failure under the metaphorical carpet and move on silently from what has not gone well. But communities will be aware when a project or initiative hasn’t worked out and leadership teams will

“Assuming positive intent means we give the benefit of the doubt to others and create the time and opportunity to learn more about a given situation. And if you’re wrong, and the intent was negative, start with the assumption that there must be a good reason for that.”

You’ve got to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. If part of your organisational culture is to adopt a positive approach to failure, remember that you’re human and you’ll make mistakes too. Don’t be afraid to admit them and learn from them – others will be more likely to do so if you show them the way. Be prepared to show some vulnerability. That helps to build trust.

One way you can achieve this is through the use of shadow boards, which involves putting together small groups of colleagues, working on a voluntary basis, who would like to engage with strategic aspects of your school’s development. The idea is that you give them the high-level objectives (assuming you’ve got that far in any given area) and they have a blank sheet of paper to come up with the things they would do to fulfill the vision and aims. It’s a really good way of checking whether you’ve missed anything obvious, or whether your own version of the strategy is broadly on the right track.

The tone in our school communities can only be lifted if the starting assumption is that everyone on a team takes a positive perspective and wants to make a useful and constructive contribution.

Flatten the Hierarchy (at least sometimes) Schools tend to have tall hierarchies and there are, of course times, when such a hierarchy is both beneficial and necessary. However, there are also times when an extended hierarchy makes the leadership seem remote and distant. So, think about intentionally and regularly creating opportunities to flatten your management structure and ensure that colleagues from all levels and departments within your community can contribute to the strategic thinking that underpins future activity.

Make sure you follow this mantra across the whole of your organisation. Every time you conclude a process, project or activity, review it to find out (and celebrate) what went well and also to learn and be honest about what didn’t. Like most things in life, you’ll get out of this what you put into it; if you invest time and energy into reviewing things and being honest about the outcomes you’ll keep improving.

You’ll make mistakes too

MICHAEL BOND is Headmaster of Brentwood School in Essex.

Walk the walk


gain respect for their candour in acknowledging such situations, demonstrating professional honesty through their own behaviours.

Professional Honesty

Simon Sinek is someone whose work we refer to a lot at Brentwood when it comes to organisational culture – I recommend his books, podcasts and social media platforms and I’d like to give him the final word today: “100% of employees are people. 100% of customers are people. 100% of investors are people. If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.”

This concept also comes from Patrick Lencioni. He believes that leaders should commit energy and oxygen to those colleagues who are positive influences in your community – not those who are mood hoovers or dementors. That way, those members of the community who could go either way will start to behave more like your positive agents than your nay-sayers.

The Law of Thirds

Although this quotation is about business, it’s equally applicable in schools: our success or failure comes down to people, and good schools can only ever be great if they have great people who share and are inspired by a common purpose. ●

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Autumn 2022 | | 31 55 44

Ofgain.course, any school trip needs to be educational. You can bring a curriculum to life with a geography trip to Iceland, led by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic

Penny Godfrey shares her experiences of the delights and challenges of running overseas school trips and urges organisers to be clear on the benefits to both the students travelling and the local communities they visit.

In addition, in this post-Covid era, you have increased risks and restrictions, as well as travel disruption unknown on such a scale in recent decades. Ensuring that the party has the correct insurance cover that will provide a proper level of protection for all travellers is absolutely essential and critical to easing the concerns of both parents and school leadership teams.

Defining the benefits

A sense of responsibilitysocial


You must also consider the impact any travel will have on the environment and whether to invest in carbon offset projects to match the emissions produced by flights being taken. Finally, is the trip open to all? At a time when most schools are increasing their bursary programmes, how

32 | | Autumn 2022

scheduling and then the planning, endless paperwork, risk assessments and the assembly of medical data, passport and visa information. And, alongside this deskbased activity, there are parent evenings, internal staff briefings, kit lists and final reminders to issue.


A lot to do!

So, if you are thinking of running a trip, you should be very clear from the outset exactly what you hope your students will

The aims and outcomes of any proposed trip must be clear from the outset because the work involved in taking students overseas cannot be under-estimated. First there’s finances, budgeting, and payment

will you ensure your trip is inclusive? There’s a lot to do – and all this before you have even left the school grounds! Then of course there’s the trip itself. Taking young people overseas is a huge responsibility, where a responsible adult needs to be available 24/7 to deal with anything that may arise.

Running a school trip is a mammoth undertaking but a rewarding experience. It’s always been a daunting task but, in recent years, the challenges have become greater than ever. So, before you even consider taking a trip on, it’s worth asking – what are the real benefits, not only for the young people travelling, but all the other stakeholders involved? With many lively debates active across social media, and the heightened sense of social responsibility this has created, students rarely regard a proposed trip as an opportunity for fun alone and want to be comfortable that it is the right decision for them to sign up.

I believe that educators must not shy away from encouraging their students to help others who are less privileged for fear of ‘white savourism’, but that support must be provided sensibly and sensitively.

Autumn 2022 | | 33

teacher, for example. Or you could inspire and motivate your Classics students with a tour of ancient monuments in Italy or Greece. Equally, how wonderful to be able to give your students the opportunity to paddle through the Ardeche with their friends, or the chance to learn to ski –experiences some parents may not be able to provide themselves.

students to have a great time, but what will they come away with after the trip has concluded. For example, will they have gained insights that can contribute to an Extended Essay or Extended Project Qualification? Will the trip help shape their future career or higher education choices?

• Get the right team around you Spread the risk by ensuring you have a range of skills in the people you take with you. Your team should all be first-aid trained, they should personally know the students, feel comfortable with the environment they are going into and have the right personal qualities; they need to be calm, experienced, unflappable, and fun!

It is always interesting when students realise that poverty doesn’t equal unhappiness and that so many of the people they meet in the developing world, although materially poor, have lives full of joy, gratitude, and abundance. The students will see first-hand how people

Of course, the success of overseas trips of this nature is dependent on using trusted local contacts who can provide direct access to the people who live in the community being visited. It is wonderful to see barriers break down as students meet people from very different backgrounds to their own, and start to share real, unfiltered stories.

live in communities and support each other, which makes them reflect on their own materially-rich lives.

that damages self-confidence, inflates the superficial and creates a harmful culture of self-absorption and a skewed sense of what is Focusingreal.on


• Consider the short- and long-term educational benefits Naturally you want your

Although it is the students who travel with the positive intent of giving back and ‘making a difference’, it is they who gain. As one student said, “This experience has made me think about my own advantages and how I can use positively the education I have had to benefit others.”

In a similar vein, a colleague of mine had a long-standing partnership with United World Schools (UWS) and, through that connection, was able to take a group of Sixth Form students to a school in Cambodia. In preparation for their visit, the girls developed lesson plans, and devised activities for the children who they were to spend three weeks teaching. This was a ‘raw’ real life experience that provided the students both with life-influencing insights and 

Before you embark on a trip:

Then there are more adventurous experiences that take the students out of their comfort zone by drawing them further afield and introducing them to unfamiliar customs, cultures, and people, often with the aim of doing some good or helping others.

Surely what an overseas experience should provide is unique access and experiences. In my view, we shouldn’t be charging exorbitant amounts of money for young people to travel simply to paint a school or dig a ditch. That’s something the local people can do for themselves.

I believe this kind of experience has great value. We need to encourage a sense of social responsibility in young people by helping them develop a world view that goes beyond themselves.

It can be too easy for young people to fall into a downward spiral of social media

• Provide some fully-funded places You may wish to have a school fund to which students can apply for financial support to ensure your trips are completely inclusive and available to all.

A learning experience

other people in different life situations helps to break down barriers, gives young people a better grasp of the reality of the world around them and a stronger sense of what positive impact they can make on that world.

PENNY GODFREY is a Project Lead running leadership and personal development programmes for and can be contacted at

practical skills which will enrich their ownTheselives.students were taken out of their comfort zone and exposed to a completely different culture and way of life. They also heard first-hand about the ongoing impact of activities of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime which previously ruled Cambodia. This kind of extraordinary experience brings the history you learn in the classroom to life and can spark a life-long intellectual curiosity as well as a willingness to learn more. Students can study war, famine, global inequality, lack of sanitation, disparity of education, etc as academic concepts but have little idea what they look like in practice. What is the impact on real people and real families? I believe giving young people the opportunity to travel and work overseas, albeit briefly, develops empathy, respect, resilience and genuine understanding – all such important qualities for the next generation.

It’s important to give our students a macro rather than micro view of a country – in this case, an understanding of some of the country-wide challenges Nepal faces.

The question arises: what will school trips look like in a post-Covid world?

On trips I led to Nepal, students spent time in Kathmandu familiarising themselves with the culture, religion, and belief systems before travelling up into the Himalayas. There, they worked in pairs with local interpreters, visiting families that the village elders had identified as being the most vulnerable. Careful budgeting followed as the students worked in partnership with respected members of the community to decide how best to support these families using the funds they had raised. These discussions resulted in cooking utensils, seeds, and fertiliser being bought, along with live chickens, goats, and even a dairy cow.

Looking to the future

Fear of saviourismwhite

That said – with all the best aims and intentions – the students will vote with their feet. If it’s a trip they want to do and which they feel is worthwhile, they’ll sign up. Largely through social media, today’s students have been exposed to the debates around social and environmental responsibility to a greater extent than many of their predecessors. They have developed a finely-tuned sense of what they believe in and what they question. These are issues which, increasingly, will inform the choices underpinning future school trips and are likely to contribute to the evolution of these seminal experiences of many students’ school lives. ●

34 | | Autumn 2022



The student teams also unearthed urgent medical cases and arranged for transport to the city hospital in Kathmandu for nine separate villagers. One of these was a father of two, with uncontrolled epilepsy, who could not even afford the bus fare to see a doctor, and a young mum who

received urgent medical care for an incisional hernia that was about toTherestrangulate.wasalso a family living very precariously in a hut under constant threat of a mud slide that the girls were determined to help. Unfazed by these added challenges, and to meet these unforeseen costs, the students set up a Just Giving page and raised an additional £3,000 in less than five days.

I believe there will be fewer of them, but that we will all work harder to ensure they have greater impact – both on the students themselves, and on the world.

This experience included a visit to Maiti Nepal, an organisation which rescues between 3,000 to 4,000 trafficked women and children each year, and a private meeting with the British Ambassador in Nepal (pictured above). It was fascinating to hear about the international development work done by the UK, how it responded to the 2015 earthquake, and the plans it has made if a natural disaster on this scale happens again.

At this year’s AMCIS Annual Conference, headmaster Michael Bond (Brentwood School) said that a school’s culture is vital to prevent staff disaffection and marketing strategy failures. A positive culture, with ‘buy in’ from the entire school community, can contribute to the success of strategy and marketing, just as a negative culture can undermine them.

causes, and a drive to be heard and acknowledged, whether as the members of like-minded communities or as the individuals we truly are. In schools, as in society, the potential for dissonance and disagreement is huge. Now is the time to remind ourselves exactly what we mean by ‘school culture’ and undertake a healthy reappraisal of whether we are ‘getting it right’ for the times we live in.

Above: Headmaster Michael Bond speaks on school culture at the AMCIS Annual Conference. Photo credit: Navy Studios School Photography.

Consistency is vital. A school which teaches that ‘actions have consequences’, for example, must involve everyone in communicating and applying the parameters. A school which values ‘being kind’ may reward kindness in its pupils, but must also encourage kindness in the staffroom.

Ideally, branding and slogan – if there is one – are the last piece of the communication jigsaw, ‘miraculously’ articulating what already exists. Of course, as every committed jigsaw fan knows, finding that last piece involves great skill. Thankfully, there is plenty of that among the talented marketing and communications professionals in our sector’s schools. ●

It’s a misconception that creating a visual brand or slogan is all you need to promote your school to the wider world. You can do it, of course, but if you aren’t attuned to your school culture, it won’t be as effective. In fact, it could easily ring hollow with your internal audience, who, of course, talk daily to your external audience. When teaching and non-teaching colleagues collaborate to nurture school culture, the potential for meaningful, and even profound, promotional work is far greater.

Huge momentum

Involve everyone

The phrase “be yourself, everyone else is already taken” is powerful. It not only ‘speaks’ to a deep need within each of us as individuals, but one that also has resonance for schools grappling with what it means to ‘get the culture right’.

TORY GILLINGHAM is CEO of AMCIS, the Association for Admissions, Marketing and Communications in Independent Schools.

In many ways, I believe schools need this ‘buy in’ now more than ever. The pandemic has changed so many things; some would say everything. Out of trauma, physical restriction, staff shortages, and our changed relationship with media and technology, has emerged a huge momentum to voice opinion, to campaign for


Autumn 2022 | | 35

I have learnt that managing a successful culture is not about top-down, heavy-handed directives or the imposition of slogans, although it does require a conscious, proactive approach. Savvy Heads and marketing professionals know that now, more than ever, we need to cradle beliefs, attitudes and values shared between pupils, parents and staff. And we need to find effective ways of reinforcing and reflecting them in every aspect of school life in order to create a universal sense of pride and belonging.


Tory Gillingham explores the importance of a school’s culture underpinning and authenticating its marketing communicationsandstrategy.

36 | | Autumn 2022

The case for support

It is crucial with a capital campaign to know who your target market is and, as importantly, who is not likely to support. We had a sports project, so we researched and segmented all the sports stars of the past among our alumni, together with current, enthusiastic sporting parents, and these became our key donor pool.


Like all capital campaigns you need the essentials in place: a project that fits within the strategy of the school, a robust and dynamic Case for Support, a good team, a generous budget, and an understanding of the roles to be played by all those likely to be involved. And finally, in our case, an internal feasibility study to ensure the targets set were achievable given the Sherborne constituency.


Now overseeing the final stages of a very successful capital fundraising campaign for a new Sports Centre at Sherborne School, Adrian Ballard looks at how this outcome was achieved.

The video was a short ‘one minute’ explanation of the need for the Sports Centre, built around messaging from pupils and key staff and references to the success of the previous capital campaign for the Music School five years earlier. We wanted donors to recognise the impact the Music School has had on music within the school and persuade them that the new Sports Centre could have a parallel impact on sport at Sherborne.

Segmentation and research


You can then set out on the journey of the quiet and public phases of the campaign.


‘The Case’ was presented through a combination of print, digital content and video to cater for all our markets, with the messaging varied slightly for the parent and alumni communities. The Case was dynamic and colourful with clear plans for the Sports Centre and a breakdown of the budget, showing the split between fundraising and core funding, alongside compelling messages from the Head and key volunteers about the importance of sport to the Sherborne community.

We decided that we also needed to rebrand to give the campaign energy, and so the Sherborne School Foundation (our fundraising arm) became ‘Sherborne 360’ to support all round excellent education.

The essentials

Know who your markettargetis


It is essential that once you have completed your segmentation and identified the donor pool, you gauge if your volunteer base, of which we had around 60, have the right connections to help with approaches. We found that our volunteers had excellent connections for close to 300 donors, so they made the initial approaches. This, in time, secured significant funding.

n his excellent article Friend-Raising, Henry Gosh explained the importance of donor engagement. At Sherborne we have been growing our engagement since 1998 and, as of 2018, had close to 30% of alumni supporting us. We now have over 50% of alumni signed up to our social media platforms. We have, therefore, begun to crack the engagement element needed to Consequently,fundraise.when asked to embark on our second capital campaign – for the redevelopment and extension of the sports centre – we felt ready to do so.

As I finish this article, we are in the final stages of the campaign and are closing in on our target. The most rewarding part of the campaign, though, will not be reaching the target but having successfully engaged with so many volunteers and new donors. We will have engaged over 1,000 donors in the campaign and many new volunteers because we made it relevant to them. It was also a wonderful opportunity to get our pupils and staff involved and ensure everyone had a part in making the project a reality. ●


The final factor in the success of the campaign was making it special for the donor. We did this by offering the donors the chance to nominate former coaching staff to have a room in the Sports Centre named after

Each of these initiatives drew past and new donors into the campaign. More importantly, they gave each generation a chance to contribute regardless of their means. We saw an average of 50% returning donors and 50% new donors.

Looking back...

Autumn 2022 | | 37

And finally, as part of the public phase, we held a silent auction with over 60 lots comprising the old (now replaced) 1st XI and 1st XV honours boards from our Pavilion; this raised over £35,000 and gave past players the chance to own a part of Sherborne’s sporting history.

Give the campaign energy

Involving everyone

As the campaign progressed it became clear that I, as the sole major gift fundraiser, needed to be ‘on the road’ for four to six days of the week, seeing at least 200 donors per year. This activity was complemented by private dinners with the Headmaster - at which we met around 80 donors over eight Londonbased events – alongside regional gatherings for parents and alumni. My personal target expanded to close to 500 meetings in 18 months but –taken alongside the volunteers’ efforts – we managed to hold between 1,000 and 1,200 face-to-face meetings (being a combination of ‘discovery’ and ‘ask’ meetings). This allowed us to have a 94% giving rate in the quiet phase.

Meeting potential donors

Making it special for the donor

them. This was called the ‘Sherborne Legends’ campaign.

ADRIAN BALLARD is Head of the Sherborne Foundation; he joined Sherborne as Deputy Director of Development in 1998.

We also created the ‘22 Club’ for all donors in the public phase who pledged £22.22 per month for three years, which by chance with gift aid grosses up to £1,000. They will all receive a 22 Club t-shir t.

from members of our catering team, lab technicians, grounds staff, past and current matrons and teaching staff designed to encourage each generation of alumni to do their bit for Giving Day. The boys took on athletic challenges, competing across the boarding houses and year groups, to encourage support from parents.

In recent months we have been able to involve the boys, staff and parents through a Giving Day. This was driven by a social media campaign. We included messaging

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It is important to invest in your fundraising team

Fundraising success does not happen overnight



Whilst volunteer-led groups such as your PTA or alumni society can enhance your fundraising performance, having a dedicated individual (or team) with the right expertise leading your development function is essential to your school’s success.

Autumn 2022 | | 39 PARTNERS

How can IDPE help?

In IDPE’s most recent benchmarking report, we found that in schools where Heads spend 5-10% of their time on supporting development, the average gift size more than triples compared with schools where Heads spends less than 5% of their time on fundraising. It is vital that school leaders understand how critical their role is in development.

IDPE’s benchmarking report shows that fundraising success doesn’t happen overnight, it can take between three and five years for a new development office to produce a strong return on investment.

o fundraise successfully, it is critically important to understand where your school is on its development journey. How engaged is your school community? Has your school carried out any fundraising before? If so, how successful was it? Benchmarking can support answering these allimportant questions and in identifying your initial priorities and your case for support, which is the allimportant ‘why’ behind your fundraising strategy.

Louise Bennett considers the importance of benchmarking in the stage-by-stage development of a successful fundraising programme.

If formal training isn’t something you need, then just becoming a member of IDPE will give you access to networking opportunities, resources and discussion forums. Schools’ development can be lonely at times – particularly if you’re a team of one! ●

IDPE works across the education sector not only to champion development, but also to communicate the critical role played by senior leaders in the management of professional fundraising programmes. With endorsement from HMC and GSA, IDPE has developed Fundraising for School Leaders, a tailored fundraising programme designed to fast-track Heads (and aspiring Heads) of independent schools to set up and lead effective fundraising programmes.


Benchmarking provides a base from which to move forward, but is is important to try new approaches too. For example, the pandemic forced schools to fundraise and engage with their communities in completely different ways. Some ideas and strategies failed to generate impact, but many were highly successful and we have seen countless examples of innovative new ideas that are being applied to future fundraising programmes.

For those schools further along in their development journey, IDPE offers a year-long holistic training programme to equip those new to the profession with the skills and competencies they need to drive forward your fundraising efforts.

Benchmarking your school against similar types of schools can help you visualise a realistic way forward. The Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE) carries out regular benchmarking across the UK schools’ development sector and this data can be used to see how long it takes different types of school to deliver a return on investment or where other schools focus their fundraising efforts.

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What might comprise the commandments of school leadership failure? Which are those most readily set to ensnare school leaders? In the spirit of provocative debate, I would suggest that a first few might include:

Isolated leadership

Such circumstances are far less exclusive than one might imagine. Many businesses, organisations,institutions,schools

Although team trust and cohesiveness are important, more so is the active encouragement of healthy scepticism and constructive debate. The suppression of dissent and of ‘difficult’ questions is so risky since it can cause leaders and their teams to become overly, even dangerously, optimistic about their capabilities and talents. Leaders who listen to and meet regularly and routinely with staff outside of their leadership teams – not waiting for an emergency, a staffing crisis, or the procedural constraints of an appraisal meeting – are those best positioned to challenge the threat of groupthink.

Nick Gallop considers some of the pitfalls school leaders would be well-advised to steer around if they are to avoid finding themselves drawn down a pathway to failure.

Yet as much as Comey’s criticism was levelled at former President Trump himself, it was also directed at the ‘silent circle of assent’ that surrounded him.


and colleges bear the scars of poorlyconsidered decisions, flawed initiatives and vanity projects that can be tracked back to the same White House phenomenon that psychologists refer to as ‘groupthink’. Indeed, schools are more prone to groupthink than many institutions, characterised as they often are by the trio of rigid hierarchies, isolated leaders and instinctively selfpreserving leadership teams.

Silent circle of assent


Alittle over 10 years ago, former President of Coca Cola and acclaimed business leader Donald Keough wrote his cleverly counter-intuitive Ten Commandments of Business Failure.

Rather than churn out yet another stepby-step guide to success, Keough instead offered a ‘how-not-to’ guide, laying out the pitfalls and blunders that companies and individuals make time after time. Keough’s ten commandments of failure ranged from ‘assume infallibility’, to ‘put all your faith in experts and outside consultants’. Each commandment provided a cautionary tale for leaders journeying along the path to failure.


Former FBI Director James Comey’s recent revelations about the Trump White House were as entertaining as they were alarming.

Dispiritingly generic, one-sided conversations

NICK GALLOP is Headmaster of Brighton College International School, Bangkok. He has taught and led in UK schools for over 25 years, is editor of Politics Review and author of Hodder Education’s UK Politics Annual Update.

Too much top-down change

42 | | Autumn 2022

Roger Martin’s The Big Lie of Strategic Planning (Harvard Business Review) effectively sets out some avoidable pitfalls, especially avoiding mistaking ‘planning’ for ‘strategy’ and encouraging leaders not to over-estimate their ability to predict the future and to plan for it in precise and technocratic ways.

Added to this is the fact that so many models of change leadership, such as those underpinned by the likes of John Kotter, are so difficult to apply successfully to the profoundly human institutions that are our schools. For instance, although Kotter’s ‘Eight Steps’ may offer a coherent guide to ‘linear’ change in smaller scale commercial operations, they have often proved disastrous in more complex organisations. Launching large-scale, top-down change in a people-heavy organisation – potentially by confecting a ‘sense of urgency’ – can disempower followers at best, irreversibly undermine trust at worst. Successful change is widely proven to be the result of all groups feeling that their insights and experiences are valued, participating in the setting of goals and the defining of projects at the outset.

Freedman notes dryly that ‘There is now no human activity so lowly, banal, or intimate that it can reasonably be deprived of Therestrategy.’is little doubt that developing strategically is far better than developing randomly, but there are two most likely destinations for the average school strategic plan. Too high level and it sits on a shelf, divorced from the reality of school life. Too overly-proscriptive and it enslaves its community, crushing individuality and the characterful classroom-level innovation that makes all the difference to the students we seek to inspire.

In our hyper-competitive, edge-seeking age there is hardly an enterprise or organisation worth its salt that doesn’t champion its strategic credentials or intent. The armed forces, the NHS, businesses large and small, government departments, political parties, charities, schools and colleges: all are busily prefixing their plans, analyses, outcomes and objectives with the ill-defined and often only vaguely understood word ‘strategic’.

Under-valued subject leaders

Collective views amongst team-playing but proudly competitive heads of department are about as rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth, since great subject leaders – just like the subjects they lead – really are inimitable. In Huh: Curriculum, conversations between subject and senior leaders, Mary Myatt and John Tomsett address the tricky question of how heads and senior leaders can meaningfully support subject leaders when they know so little about the subjects themselves.

That said, desert warrior Norman Schwarzkopf, leader of the coalition forces in the 1990-91 Gulf War, puts matter s in their rightful order when he reminds us that ‘Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.’

It is precisely this lack of knowledge that often renders subject leaders – the most influential group in determining the daily experience, the progress and the development of our students (arguably far more so than senior leaders) – almost entirely marginalised when it comes to school development. Instead, discussions between senior and subject leaders are too often char acterised by dispiritingly generic, one-sided conversations about ‘GCSE specifications, data entry, Year 11 mocks, interventions... timetabling’.

Disconnected strategy

What makes Myatt and Tomsett’s new book essential reading is that it provides the basis for far better subject-based understanding between senior and subject leaders. Without it, school development remains stuck in the ‘joyless trudge’ of ‘improving progress’ or ‘getting Cs to Bs’, rather than ‘shining an exploratory light on subjects and their importance to the lives of our children’. And without it, school development remains about satisfying our regulatory bodies rather than satisfying our students.

Not unlike the premise of Keough’s commandments, identifying potential hazards and personal blind spots can be the most effective first step in defying them. ●

Although occasionally a school may be gripped by a leader who believes in explosive change, the reason that so many of our institutions have survived and thrived for so long is that a succession of leaders, often spanning several centuries, have understood the importance balancing change as

a driver for school improvement alongside their obligations to preserve and to protect the institutions they lead, often from the buffeting but passing winds of social and cultural pressure.

Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London, offers substantial insight in his sweeping doorstop of a book Strategy: A History.


Effective first step

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