Headship Institute

Leadership is key to stimulating innovation, driving change and to delivering results in an increasingly changing educational landscape . In this landscape, there’s a growing need for highly skilled leaders who can navigate through complex challenges and empower their teams to achieve greatness for the young people we serve. The Headship Institute is The Evolve Trust’s flagship Development Programme and was created by CEO, Claire-Marie Cuthbert, combining theory and practice, it is centred around refining your leadership skills and purpose in line with the Trust’s strategic focus. There is also the opportunity to gain a NPQEL.

The Headship Institute will:

  • Challenge your thinking and reignite your ambition with the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s greatest thought leaders
  • Join a diverse peer group of exceptional senior leaders, sharing experiences and broadening your perspectives.
  • Explore the ideas that drive leadership, strategy, change and impact, guided by educational thinkers
  • Elevate your impact through experiential learning designed to provoke ideas and challenge your assumptions

Core Texts:

Thrive: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World

Every generation faces challenges, but never before have young people been so aware of theirs. Whether due to school strikes for climate change, civil war, or pandemic lockdowns, almost every child in the world has experienced the interruption of their schooling by outside forces. When the world we have taken for granted proves so unstable, it gives rise to the question: what is schooling for? Thrive advocates a new purpose for education, in a rapidly changing world, and analyses the reasons why change is urgently needed in our education systems. The book identifies four levels of thriving: global – our place in the planet; societal – localities, communities, economies; interpersonal – our relationships; intrapersonal – the self. Chapters provide research-based theoretical evidence for each area, followed by practical international case studies showing how individual schools are addressing these considerable challenges. Humanity's challenges are shifting fast: schools need to be a part of the response.


Back on Track by Mary Myatt. 

There are lots of redundant processes in schools. We need to take a hard look at these and consider whether they are adding value to the core purpose of schools. This is more than a workload issue, it is about focusing our efforts on the most important agenda item in schools today - the development of an ambitious curriculum for every child, in every school. 

The Curriculum: Gallimaufry to coherence

Increasingly, across the system, people are talking about knowledge and curriculum. In this timely new book, Mary Myatt is at her brilliant best as she passionately argues that the solutions to overcoming achievement barriers lie in understanding the curriculum and in what children are meant to know.

For the education system to reach coherence on the curriculum, it's going to require teachers in schools to engage in the conversation; it's a journey we need to share if we're going to deliver a curriculum we understand and believe in. In a series of crystal clear chapters, Mary guides teachers and school leaders through one of the most important debates in education.

The Leader's Secret Code

What makes a great leader? What beliefs, attitudes and behaviours are linked to being a top performing and influential leader, especially in these uncertain times? What impact does culture, industry and business context have? And do formal training and education make a difference? This book is for any business manager or executive, or indeed anyone involved in leading a team in their company, who wants to learn the secrets of successful leadership. Based on interviews and analyses (qualitative and quantitative) with some of the world's best performing leaders, across a mix of industries, cultures and context, the authors present a rigorous evaluation of how leaders behave and how they are driven. In doing so, they reveal the secret code behind consistent and high-level success in leadership and management.


Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Dare To Lead

Leadership is not about titles, status and power over people. Leaders are people who hold themselves accountable for recognising the potential in people and ideas, and developing that potential. This is a book 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.

But daring leadership in a culture that's defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty requires building courage skills, which are uniquely human. The irony is that we're choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the same time we're scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines can't do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection and courage to start.

Brené Brown spent the past two decades researching the emotions that give meaning to our lives. Over the past seven years, she found that leaders in organisations ranging from small entrepreneurial start-ups and family-owned businesses to non-profits, civic organisations and Fortune 50 companies, are asking the same questions:

How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders? And, how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?

Dare to Lead answers these questions and gives us actionable strategies and real examples from her new research-based, courage-building programme.

The Infinite Game

This terms core text: 

Are you playing the Infinite Game?

In The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek uses game theory to explore how great businesses achieve long-lasting success.

In life there are finite and infinite games. Finite games have set rules, players and a start and finish line. Infinite games are games in which the rules and parameters can change every minute, with no finish line in sight. As Simon explains, business, and so many other areas of life, are infinite games.  When players look only for wins in the short term - be it to exit strategies, austere spending targets or arbitrary performance metrics, the player inevitably loses.

With this graspable yet overarching observation, Simon disassembles some of the most famous successes and failures in business, conflict and politics of the last 100 years. He outlines how the only way to build truly long-term value, enduring growth and dedicated, motivated people, is by playing with an infinite mindset- by playing The Infinite Game.

World Class - How to Build a 21st-Century School System

In a world where the kind of things that are easy to teach and test have also become easy to digitise and automate, it will be our imagination, our awareness and our sense of responsibility that will enable us to harness the opportunities of the 21st century to shape the world for the better. Tomorrow’s schools will need to help students think for themselves and join others, with empathy, in work and citizenship. They will need to help students develop a strong sense of right and wrong, and sensitivity to the claims that others make.What will it take for schools to be able to do this? Andreas Schleicher, initiator of the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and an international authority on education policy, has accompanied education leaders in over 70 countries in their efforts to design and implement forward-looking policies and practices. While improvement in education is far easier to proclaim than achieve, in this book Schleicher examines the many successes from which we can learn. 

The Barcelona Way 

In The Barcelona Way, sports psychologist Damian Hughes reveals the key principles that have defined FC Barcelona’s success and shows how the DNA of a winning team can be successfully applied to any working environment, with dramatic results.

'A powerful book on the important principles of creating a high-performing culture.'

Eddie Jones, England RFU Head Coach

FC Barcelona are one of the most successful football clubs in the world. What makes FCB unique is the winning culture that has delivered sustained success for much longer than the customary four-year cycle of an elite team. Lying at the very heart of their success is how they deal with people and the care and attention given to the environment in which those people are nurtured: practices which are of equal relevance to all organizations trying to channel the activities of their talented individuals for the corporate good.

The key principles are: Big Picture, Arc of Change, Repetition, Cultural Architects, Authentic Leadership. These are the same principles that are adhered to in successful working environments across any industry.

Drawing on interviews with key architects of the culture, as well as his own extensive experience as a sports psychologist working with leading sports and business institutions, Damian Hughes provides unique insights into the crucial issues confronting the modern corporate environment, and shows how the lessons learnt at FC Barcelona can also be applied to develop your own winning culture.


In this groundbreaking book, leading executive coach Rene Carayol shares the magic and simplicity of the SPIKE (Strength, Positively, Identified, Kick, Start, Excellence) philosophy. In the world of SPIKE, there are no losers anymore - everyone has something they are great at! The product of 30 years of supporting the growth and development of thousands of individuals and organizations globally, the book brings together a proven formula for personal and business development. The vital and essential ingredient of SPIKE is that everyone has at least one inherent strength. Finding those sometimes hidden strengths and energies, and then mobilizing them for your and other's benefit, is the ultimate aim of this inspiring book.

The Culture Code

This term, the Headship Institute programme has focused heavily on The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. We all know that great culture is the making of an effective organisation and in The Culture Code Daniel Coyle explores and answers two primary questions: Where does great culture come from? And how do you build and sustain it in your group or strengthen in a culture that needs fixing?

From his discovering journey visiting extraordinarily successful organisations—U.S. Navy’s SEALS Team Six, San Antonio Spurs, IDEAL Pixar, Union Square Hospitality and more—he concludes that “While successful culture can look and feel like magic, the truth is that it’s not. Culture is a set of living relationships working towards a shared goal. It’s not something you are. It’s something you do.”

The doing of culture is synthesized in three critical skills.

  • Build safety—“explores how signals of connection generate bonds of belonging and identity.
  • Share vulnerability—“explains how habits of mutual risk drive trusting cooperation.”
  • Establish purpose—“tells how narratives create shared goals and values.”

Daniel Coyle relates the fascinating research story about four person groups tasked to build the tallest possible structure using marshmallows, a yard each of string and transparent tape, and 20 uncooked spaghetti. Surprisingly counterintuitively, kindergarten teams dramatically and consistently outperformed groups of lawyers, CEOs, and business school students.

Business students prioritised what “psychologists call ‘status management’ they are figuring out where they fit into the larger picture . . . their interactions appear smooth, but their underlying behaviours are riddled with inefficiency, hesitation and subtle, competition. All of this distracts from the task at hand.

By contrast, “the kindergarteners” actions appear disorganised on the surface, but when you view them as a single entity, their behaviours are efficient and effective. They are not competing for status. They stand shoulder to shoulder and work energetically together. They move quickly, spotting problems and offering help. They experiment, take risks, and notice outcomes, which guides that toward effective solutions.”

As Coyle observes, “The kindergarteners succeed not because they are smarter, but because they work together in a smarter way. They are tapping into a simple and powerful method in which a group of ordinary people can create a performance far beyond the sum of their parts.” The Culture Code “is the story about how that works.”

Each of the reviews in the book are structured around five core questions:

  • What were our intended results?
  • What were our actual results?
  • What caused our results?
  • What would we do the same next time?
  • What will we do differently?”

The Culture Code wasan interesting read and Headship Institute is providing a safe space for senior leaders to consider the implications for their own context through full and frank discussion. More and more leaders across the Trust are also now engaging with this fantastic book. Whilst work around this text continues, we already know that it effectively informs and illuminates the true meaning of “culture” as derived from the Latin cultus, which means care.