Alex Ferguson’s management tips for schools

A footballer-turned-deputy headteacher who played for Sir Alex Ferguson has told how the legendary manager influenced his career in school leadership.

Lee Gardner was a football player during Sir Alex’s trophy-laden time at Aberdeen in the 1980s. After his football days, he turned to teaching and is now deputy headteacher at North Ayrshire’s Garnock Academy. He says his former manager is “probably the biggest influence” on his career.

The clarity of purpose shown by Sir Alex has stayed with Mr Gardner, who went on to play for many other clubs. While training might normally involve endless running or players battering shots indiscriminately at a goalkeeper, Sir Alex would put players into twos or threes, so that they could work on highly specific parts of their game.

“The expectations that Sir Alex met were incredible, and you strived to meet them”, he says.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s lessons for teachers and school leaders, according to his former player Lee Gardner:

  • Set very clear goals, uncluttered by jargon
  • Admit it when you get things wrong
  • Do not set the same work for every student; tailor learning to personal strengths and needs.
  • Know who needs encouragement and who requires sterner treatment.
  • Allow no idle moments.
  • Keep parents involved.

This is an edited version of an article from the 18 December edition of TES and the TESS. Subscribers can view the full version here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. Or pick it up in all good newsagents.

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