Walking a tightrope

1 Mar 2019 | by Alison Moon


Watching The Greatest Showman with my daughter back in 2018 I instantly came away enthralled by the links and comparatives with my role working within a school environment and indeed my role in shaping our trust’s way forward.

Who is it all about?

There were the more obvious tracks like ‘Rewrite the stars’ which made me think of the pupils that come into our world from some of the most difficult backgrounds and how we can give them the belief in themselves that they may rewrite their stars.  ‘From now on’ made me think of those pupils who dust themselves off and try to make a new start and ‘This is me’ of course resonates for those pupils who are different and who we need to protect from the bullies of this world.

Our ethos at is to create irresistible learning for all’  centred around our three vision words, Inspirational, Inclusive and Innovative (feel free to have a look at a previous blog with the back story  http://veritas-values ) and The Greatest Showman ticked all the boxes.  It was no surprise when I saw that this was the theme for the ISBL national conference this year. 

Looking after ourselves

Taking time out for our own CPD and networking is really important and I value it deeply; attending the first ISBL Fellows event earlier this year was great to put faces to names of those that I am in contact with ‘virtually’ and to meet with ISBL staff who are helping to shape the way forward in the sector.

“Let this promise in me start, like an anthem in my heart”.  The lyrics in ‘From Now on’ resonate with me; It’s a bit like being in the Brownies ... I promise to uphold and promote the values and ethos of our trust, I promise to uphold the values of and integrate ISBL Professional Standards into our business strategy and I promise to always ensure that the welfare and outcomes for our pupils remain my primary focus.

‘Walking a tightrope’ - “It’s all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view.  I risk it all for this life we choose”.

At times it feels that the responsibility of this stewardship, the risk of failure added to the fact that external and political influences have so much impact and therefore our strategic planning can be hampered in a way that in a business leadership role in private enterprise it would not be, can be a bitter pill to swallow. 

But being an integral part of shaping the life chances of future generations, getting to see the year 6 productions in the summer term that, in my mind at least, are on a par with The Greatest Show, where the meekest, mildest child that you ever did see suddenly shines in a jaw dropping rendition of one of our childhood classics.












Leading a consistently effective team

This is a long pre-amble into some more focused areas of consideration that will feature in future blogs.  In order for us to create this ‘Greatest Show’, for the stars to align, not just on the odd occasion but for us to consistently achieve the best outcomes for our children and not just at one school but at all schools within a growing trust, takes consistently hard work.  It takes an inspired workforce that is motivated to seek continuous improvement, with high expectation.  It takes planning to ensure that if key members of staff leave the organisation that succession planning is in place and the plates will continue to spin. 

I have a number of colleagues who have written a range of interesting blogs on leadership - follow this link to see the publications section of our website:  

Creating a self-improving culture

Creating an organisation that people don’t want to leave also helps; along with career pathways so that great staff don’t feel the need to leave as they progress.  It needs resourcing, developed through ICFP, ensuring that the very best is available to the ‘front line’ as well as securing the ‘bottom line’.  To consistently achieve all this, requires a strong culture, balancing trust and challenge; quality assured with governance and delivered by an effective leadership team.

The business of running schools is under the spotlight more than ever with the emergence of the academy sector.  For me, the single most influential support mechanism has come through the ISBL.  As a fellow, I feel this is because it is driven by those working in the sector who are highly qualified, research focused, highly experienced and care passionately about the work they do.  The Professional Standards have transformed my leadership - be sure to see the latest version https://isbl.org.uk/isbl.org.uk/professionalstandards

At Veritas MAT, we have implemented a new business structure which has been influenced by the ISBL Professional Standards.  My next blogs will consider:

  • the impact of ISBL support during the design and development of our new business structure. 

Creating a scalable structure.

  • the impact of ISBL support in creating our bespoke tool on which to manage our business functions

How will I know if something is wrong?

  • SLAs - We’re all on the same page!

  • Keeping things positive


I am excited to see how our new structure develops but I hope these blogs will share our journey so far.  I would relish feedback from others going through similar experiences - you never know there may be an opportunity to collaborate.