Impact and innovation

Great Futures behind us?

Ewart Home Examines Trends In Heads’ Professional Development.

The editor invited former member Ewart Home to review two John Catt/ HMC publications, Head to Head (1992) and Heads - Expert Advice For Changing Times (2007). Ewart claimed to have tried hard but, even after ingesting honey dew, managed little inspiration: only this fragment remains from his manuscript sheets.

…..Asked to exhume and review Head to Head

And turning the pages I once should have read

Reminded me how very different back then

Was the world of Headmasters, the authors all men.

A roomful of Chairmen, some future, some past,

(The acreage of trouser-seat was simply vast)

The officers too, and some stellar young things,

All ready to teach you how best to pull strings.

The pupils, the parents, the governors, staff,

Alumni, reporters, all beating a path

To the study where, with these new management skills,

You’ll sort out their problems and cure all their ills.

And if you feel something’s beyond you, why then

You’ll need a good secretary guarding your den.

Some fifteen years later, eight volumes we see,

Co-authored by GSA and HMC.

The booklet for Heads is now quite twice as long

No Knights of the Thistle, the pictures all gone.

These ‘essays in leadership for changing times’

(They’ve dealt with the scansion and I do the rhymes)

Reveal a sea change and a positive flood

Of requirements and duties that all chill the blood.

No wonder that seven more volumes exist

With management challenges hard to resist.

And what shall we see in the year twenty-two

When the next in this series is probably due?

Advice on bulk visas for Scotland or Wales

(The payment in kind if the currency fails)?

It won’t be a booklet, you’ll find it online,

(If the internet’s working), so do not repine.

There’ll still be school leaders, though maybe not Heads,

But ‘Vision Executives’, taking their meds

To get through the day without blowing a fuse

And make sure the website shows only good news.

But fear not, when we are the new Singapore,

The overseas students will flock to our door.

Some schools will be heritage sites with a cast

Of students and staff, and a telephone mast,

(The Bursar’s pet earner), along with the courses,

All ways to resist adverse financial forces.

But set aside all gloomy prognostication,

There’s no better job, there’s no better vocation,

Than leading a school where the young learn to fly,

To sail to the world’s end, to soar in the sky.

Ewart Home

(pseudonym) is a former member of HMC, now retired to Porlock.