From Eton, Westminster and St Paul’s to Wycombe Abbey, Withington and Winchester, Heads Up tells the inside story of the men and women running 32 of England’s leading independent schools – and the problems they face.
Heads Up uncovers the secret world of this impressive, powerful group as they battle to create the right conditions for academic success, happy children and happy staff. They tell a story of demanding governors, treacherous staff, nightmare parents, financial difficulties and the relentless pressure to achieve.
How are heads hired and fired? How do they lead? Who competes for the best pupils in selling the brand and in league tables? When confronting staff and governors, who wins? At the centre of every school are children and their problems: bullying, cyberbullying, drugs, eating disorders and family breakdown. How do they manage problem children and which powerful parents litigate? Heads Up delivers the answers.
‘Dominic Carman’s overview of what has happened in education over the past five decades is lucid and useful.’
Ralph Townsend, headmaster of Winchester
‘Heads Up is the best account of school leadership I’ve ever come across. I was fascinated by this well-rounded, punchy and realistic account of what our lives are like, doing the best job in the world. This is an inspirational and frank account of independent headship: anyone aspiring to be a head should read it, all current heads should read it, and all our colleagues should too.’
Felicity Lusk, head of Abingdon
‘I have read Heads Up with real pleasure. It provides a generous and thought-provoking insight into the different approaches and shared values of headmasters today, as well as some fascinating history.’
Gary Savage, head of Alleyn’s
‘This is a fascinating and unique book, often punchy, at times outrageous, and always difficult to put down. Somehow, Dominic Carman has spirited out of a set of leading heads’ views and opinions which they probably would never acknowledge in public, as well as the occasional traditional view. The approaches are in many cases entirely contradictory, yet the effects on schools are clearly very comparable. No head – or governor — should be without this book; and for many parents it will be an eye-opening and extraordinary read.’
Tim Hands, master Magdalen College School, HMC chairman 2013-2014
‘Everyone likes a little bit of insight into how other people/schools do things, and for this reason I like this book very much…an honest, interesting and informative collection of opinions and ideas that provides a wealth of insights, whether you are an aspiring head, a newcomer or at the top of your game.’
‘Relationships with parents, governors, staff and children (yep, they get a look in) are explored in soundbites, gobbets and vignettes, and this makes for a pleasing, easy journey.’