‘Get out of your comfort zone,’ state school leaders are told

Leading headteacher urges them to join the private sector – as governors

State school leaders should become governors of private schools, an influential headteacher from the independent sector has said.

Richard Harman, chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference and headteacher of Uppingham School in Rutland, believes that this would encourage senior leaders to share ideas across the sectors.

“You always learn from something that is different from your own comfort zone,” he told TES. “You learn how your own practice can be informed by how another school in different circumstances would do something. That’s very enriching.”

Some leading independent schools already sponsor academies, with their headteachers sitting on the academies’ governing bodies. Mr Harman suggests that independent schools would similarly benefit from input from state-school headteachers.

His idea has won the backing of the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and United Learning, which runs schools in both sectors.

But Geoff Barton, headteacher of King Edward VI School, a comprehensive in Suffolk – who took part in an exchange with the independent Bedales School, for a TES feature earlier this year – questions whether becoming a private-school governor would be the best use of his time.

“Being a governor is not always the best way of finding out about things,” he said.

To read the full story, get the 28 August edition of TES on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS.

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