2019 National Conference: Rethinking Resilience   

We’re delighted to have hosted our biggest National Conference yet, which has drawn together over 600 leaders from across the country to focus on this crucial leadership development issue. We’re thrilled to have welcomed a wide range of student leaders, alongside educational leaders across the sectors, key thinkers and practitioners and senior national figures to share. As we continue to build the Foundation’s Networks, we want to provide useful and inspirational content and ideas to support you in your own context. Each month we’ll be taking a focus on a particular leadership issue and providing some helpful ideas that you can use in your own context.
Do continue to connect with us through the website at or by email at – or of course through Twitter at @cofe_edulead
Andy Wolfe
Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development)

Thoughts and Reflections from our Keynote Speakers

Rather than thinking of resilience as 'coping until we retire' I think of it as flourishing and thriving... for me that's about finding God's purpose for you.  
If we want our tree to bear fruit at times we need to prune it to decide where our focus will be.
Rest not for the sake of work but for the sake of our lives
Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London.

For resilience we need vision; vision is what we carry to see us through what is happening now, because what is happening now is not the end of the story.  
Reading, writing and arithmetic are only important if they serve to make our children more human.
Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin

Courage comes from within and our job is to help children find that courage. That forms the basis of Character Education.
 Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP

Whilst telling story of Nehemiah, Rt Revd Paul Williams, related how the study of Nehemiah can help us look at how we build teams and their resilience.  He identified four areas of leadership - trust-builder,  vision-carrier, value-raiser and joy-amplifier as being key to holding and supporting teams when times are challenging. 

Conference delegates reflected:
The keynote speakers really showed understanding resilience and what is really important in our turbulent times today. We have to stand strong in our schools and for our children. They were really inspirational. Shaun Burns, Southwark

I found it heartening and encouraging to have a Secretary of State who is publicly nailing his colours to the mast about well-being and character and actually being courageous enough to say it’s not all about outcomes and subject discrete teaching and learning in schools. Dr Margaret James DDE Worcester Diocese

Leadership Reflection: Are you still in?
When a school leadership team faces a significant challenge together, the fundamental question the team ask of one another is not simply of leadership competence and action planning, but rather a deeper character question of resilience and vision – are you still in?
The question is not limited to those who happen to have ‘leader’ in their job title – it is the same challenge faced by an NQT in their nightly planning and marking marathons, or a pastoral mentor responding to increasing pressure on schools to act as a permanent mental health backstop for children as local support services dwindle. The character of the individual is revealed and refined in the crucible of the challenge. Read more... 
Rethinking Resilience: Paul’s Leadership Journey in 2 Corinthians
We’ve been doing lots of thinking about resilience and have drawn together a range of resources to help you reflect on this with your teams. 
Rethinking Resilience: Paul’s Leadership Journey in 2 Corinthians  this activity takes a wide range of verses from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians and offers some great opportunities for reflection on their connection to contemporary educational leadership issues – it’s a great discussion starter to explore with staff which verses resonate with them and why.
Reflection for a Staff Meeting/Act of Worship/INSET Day 1: “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5.7) – these reflections give 10 minutes good reading for leaders, and range of discussion questions which can easily be adapted for a staff/SLT meeting or an Act of Worship.
Reflection for a Staff Meeting/Act of Worship/INSET Day 1: “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen”– as above very adaptable for investigating the theology behind why we do what we do
2 Corinthians Overview – for those wishing to understand the overarching narrative of this important letter in the New Testament, it will of course be helpful to read the full letter – equally this film - – is a great way of getting the picture and context quickly
See all these resources in full on 
Need a quick thought starter for resilience...? 
An inspiring video clip to show the power of resilience in the face of challenging circumstances - we might not feel like we used to; it might not be the journey we had in mind but the power of belief and finding our support network can re-route us. 
How about a more theory based look at how vulnerability impacts resilience?
Brene Browne is a researcher who shares fresh thinking on why caring what others think actually matters, and why critics make us stronger.  'We can’t give children what we don’t have. We just have to be the adults we hope they grow up to be.'

February Book Recommendations

Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

“The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to failing…It is not that suffering or failure might  happen, or that it will only happen to you if you are bad (which is what religious people often think), or that it will happen to the unfortunate, or to a few in other places, or that you can somehow by cleverness or righteousness avoid it. No, it will happen, and to you…!  It takes a foundational trust to fall or to fail – and not fall apart. Faith alone holds you while you stand waiting and hoping and trusting.”

Brené Brown, Dare to Lead

Dare to Lead is the latest Brene Brown book and is for everyone who is ready to choose courage over comfort, make a difference and lead.  When we dare to lead, we don't pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don't see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it and work to align authority and accountability. We don't avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into the vulnerability that’s necessary to do good work.  
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
National Secondary Leadership Network (NSLN)
We’re delighted to have launched our new National Secondary Leadership Network (NSLN) with around 60 schools already part of this. The next events are:
26 February – Vision for Education and SIAMS Leadership Development Resources with Andy Wolfe & Nigel Genders
3 May – Curriculum Design – looking at the key issues of curriculum joined by Daniel Muijs (Head of Research, Ofsted) and Dame Alison Peacock (Chartered College of Teaching)
10 July – Faith Development and Chaplaincy
For more details contact
There are over 150 leaders in our current cohort of CoEPQH, accredited by DfE as an NPQH, across 5 regions. The programme is recruiting aspiring and current headteachers for January 2020 start across 7 regional cohorts.  Find out more about the programme on our website and register your interest. Applications for 2020 programme open in May – for more information and to register your interest go to 

MAT Leadership Network.
Our next MAT Leadership Network event takes place on 21st May at Lambeth Palace, focusing on ‘Sustaining School Improvement’.  MAT CEOs, MAT Senior leadership team members and DDEs please book your place at
That’s all for this month – we’ll be back in March with more. Please share this with colleagues – we welcome your feedback too  -
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