Professional development: Do as I say, not as I do

As a Head, I'm sure you promote the professional development of your staff. You may advise staff to go on a course to deepen their understanding of a topic, to develop their curriculum vitae or out of desperation when there is nothing left to propose as yet another letter of complaint arrives from a parent about the performance of the same member of staff. The value of an up-skilled, re-motivated staff member and the benefits this brings to the school is clear. But what about your own professional development?

Is your annual dose of self-improvement confined to the HMC Conference? How many of the seminars do you attend even then? I’m a busy person you tell yourself and you can’t afford to be out of school any more than you are already. The staff see you away from school and bless your return with some not-so-funny quip such as "Did you have a good time when you were away?" Your last appraisal with the Governors suggested some refreshment might be a good idea and you undertook to look into what courses there might be with a focus on X or Y. But did you, and more importantly, did you enroll on such a course?

Some Heads extol the value of the Harvard Business School - The courses on offer are not cheap and without doubt they are demanding of your time and effort, but shouldn't your Governors invest in developing your leadership skills? If the courses prove a bit too expensive the publications of said university are well worth a subscription.

If that’s a step too far, then why not come nearer to home? The HMCPD Part 3 course for Heads four or five years into headship was very well received by those who went last year and it gives some pointers to what you might do next with your career. Reflection and refreshment are the two Rs behind the course and, as ever, you only need one or two new ideas to make it all worthwhile. At the very least you return refreshed from a well deserved break in the company of largely like-minded professionals.