Leadership lessons from Oz

Starting a new job and a new role was like landing in Oz. There was a palpable magical can-do attitude from the entire school. 100 days in the building meant we came together as a pioneering community, where we set up new ways of navigating 21st Century learning. Now where was the journey going to take us as we headed towards day 200?

In my previous school I had a great pair of red shoes 👠 which my daughter always said were my Dorothy shoes. These shoes were a reminder that no matter what happened I could click my heels and think of happy home memories. This truly kept me going when situations were tough but these magical shoes broke before I started my new job. I have hunted for new shoes but have had to survive without them. 

Over the past term I have had lots of firsts to deal with. One thing I had heard from people as they were promoted was how isolating leadership can be. I have never experienced such isolation as I have always found friendly colleagues to work with. As a middle leader there were other curriculum leaders dealing with similar tasks and as an assistant Headteacher there were deputies to discuss issues with. I am lucky to work in a school with 2 deputies on site and our regular chats help me clarify thoughts as we continue to craft our new community. But ...

There is a difference now being a deputy Headteacher when the headteacher is not on site and there is no second deputy on site either. It can feel like walking through the scary woods in the wizard of oz movie, just waiting for an unexpected situation to jump out at you. Leadership courses didn't really mention this aspect of sole responsibility. On the drive home this term I have reflected on how I would have coped a year ago - I don't think I would have. 

I have felt like Dorothy wanting to be rescued by a magical kind force but have come to realise that Glinda was right. Leaders have the ability to make decisions, reflect and ensure that all avenues are explored for the best decisions to be taken. They grow from each leadership opportunity, learn how to respond the next time and flourish when given responsibility. 

Next term sees our 200th day and an official opening. I start my NPQH too and without a pair of Dorothy shoes I know I have the ability to make a difference. Helping students to grow, learn and flourish as I start using Thrive techniques will increase mental strength even further in our thriving community. I can't wait to meet our year 2 colleagues as we interview those keen to join us on our educational journey. This is team work with no magic needed. 


  1. Great stuff, Julie. Have connected this to my blog post on moving from Assistant Head to Deputy Head.

    1. Thanks Jill. There does need to be a few more blogs for AHT to DHT. Also what being in leadership in a new school is like is a different setting too.


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