Leadership for Tomorrow

Beyond the school improvement horizon

By: Andrew Hobbs , John West-Burnham , Malcolm Groves


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Products specifications
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Size: 222 x 182mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781785832376
Format: Paperback
Published: November 2017

Presents school leaders with a vision-led analysis of what needs to change if schools are really to equip children and young people to thrive in our ever-changing world.

In Leadership for Tomorrow: Beyond the school improvement horizon Malcolm Groves, Andrew Hobbs, and John West-Burnham present a vision-led analysis of what needs to change if schools are really to equip children and young people to thrive in our ever-changing world.

Continually adding improvements to existing models of schooling isn't enough: we need a more radical reconceptualisation of schooling's function and purpose. We need school leaders who can look beyond the horizon and lead on the strength of lessons learned from the here and now. In Leadership for Tomorrow Groves, Hobbs, and West-Burnham expertly examine what needs to change if we are to lead our schools beyond today's limited school improvement horizon, and explore the nature of the change leadership which can make this happen.

Rooted in the direct experience of innovative and successful school leaders, Leadership for Tomorrow presents a wide range of strategies and case studies that will enable and inspire leaders to future-proof their school improvement approach and to fashion better futures for the children and young people in their care. Furthermore, by sharing their research-informed insight into – and vision for – the evolving nature of education, the authors hope to encourage leaders to go further in building both their own and their school's capacity to live, learn, and grow successfully.

Split into three parts that interweave both theory and practice, Leadership for Tomorrow poses a number of questions throughout to stimulate thinking about current and emerging issues in education and argue that consequent responses will vary in different contexts. Part One sets out and justifies theoretically the principles and values that underpin the authors' vision for education, and signposts the evidence which highlights the limitations of short-term thinking and the reasons for why it is destined to fail. In Part Two the authors focus on more practical matters by presenting case studies of five school leaders to examine their work through the lens of the four-quadrant Schools of Tomorrow Framework, which depicts the 'beyond outstanding' school as one that delivers highly effective family and community engagement and preparation for the future, as well as the highest levels of achievement and of well-being and involvement. Part Three then blends theory and practice with an in-depth analysis of what these leaders' experiences can tell us about developing new understandings of leading change and school improvement for the future, which are at one and the same time values based and evidence informed.

Leadership for Tomorrow is the result of nearly a decade of thinking, research, and observation of leadership practice which Groves, Hobbs, and West-Burnham have undertaken in a range of settings; the authors have written up some of this experience previously for Schools of Tomorrow (SoTo) ' a small research and development group made up of school leaders working together to shape a better future for their schools.

Whilst Leadership for Tomorrow is primarily focused on changes within the English educational system, the authors hope that the lessons derived from the book's content will be of interest to leaders in other school systems too.

Suitable for school leaders, those preparing for leadership, and those with an interest in leadership development and policy.

Contents include:

Part One: The Case for Change

1. Values and Principles: Four Propositions

2. Tensions and Contradictions: Five Major Challenges School Leaders Face Today

3. A World of Change: Ten Major Global Trends That Challenge Our Conceptions of Education and Learning

Part Two: Towards Tomorrow

4. The Achievement Quadrant

5. The Well-being Quadrant

6. The Preparation for the Future Quadrant

7. The Family and Community Engagement Quadrant

Part Three: Leading for Tomorrow Today

8. Understanding and Leading Change: Six Defining Characteristics of Leadership for Tomorrow

9. Connected Leadership: Two Areas of Focus for Thinking Differently about School Improvement

10. Leading Oneself Futureword

Leadership for Tomorrow is featured in Volume 8.4 of School Leadership Today – click here and check out pages 57–64 for more information!

Picture for author Andrew Hobbs

Andrew Hobbs

Andrew Hobbs was joint managing director of Schools of Tomorrow until March 2016. Andrew has almost 40 years' experience in education, working in schools and in policy development. He held a number of senior leadership roles before becoming a secondary head teacher. For the last ten years, Andrew has worked as a consultant and project manager, leading and managing change programmes and the reorganisation of schools. Andrew has particular expertise in change leadership and management, learning approaches to workforce and organisational development, and developing community cohesion.

Click here to watch the Leadership for Tomorrow video.

Picture for author John West-Burnham

John West-Burnham

John West-Burnham was an independent writer, teacher and consultant in education leadership. He is the author, co-author and editor of many books including Rethinking Educational Leadership and Understanding Leadership. He was a director of three academy trusts and a trustee of two educational charities, as well as an Honorary Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Worcester.

Picture for author Malcolm Groves

Malcolm Groves

Malcolm Groves is a co-founder and managing director of Schools of Tomorrow. He has over 40 years' experience in education, encompassing primary and secondary phases, youth work, and adult education. He has been an Ofsted inspector, local authority inspector, school improvement partner, NPQH assessor, and national adviser to SSAT. Malcolm has a doctorate in school leadership from the University of Warwick.



  1. Leadership for Tomorrow is a challenging and thoughtful book that is rooted in research and practice. The questions posed are invaluable for every school leader, leadership team, and governing board. I especially enjoyed the change study piece on -˜A day in the life - 2040'.

    I would strongly recommend this book.
  2. Leadership for Tomorrow is the most uplifting and optimistic book I have read on the theme of present-day and future school leadership. It builds on the outstanding work in the Schools of Tomorrow initiative and its credibility is secured with the five case studies of leaders who have successfully applied the four-quadrant Schools of Tomorrow Framework, which is in itself a model of clarity for dealing with a complex and constantly changing school environment. Leadership for Tomorrow also deals comprehensively with the values that should underpin school leadership - a discussion regrettably missing or just a token after-thought in many other publications.

    While the book is primarily concerned with developments in England, there is certain to be wider interest internationally as the environment is generally similar in many countries. The quality of writing and the helpful questions for discussion ensure that Leadership for Tomorrow will be a valuable resource in a range of settings, including school-based leadership teams, student-led school leadership groups, and initiatives such as multi-academy trusts.
  3. Leadership for Tomorrow is a fascinating and thought-provoking exploration of some of the deepest challenges our education system faces in adapting to the needs of twenty-first century society.

    Through a powerful combination of academic theory, research evidence, questions for reflection, and case study examples drawn from the leadership experience of five successful head teachers involved in the pioneering Schools of Tomorrow programme, Leadership  for Tomorrow offers a deep insight into leading change into the future.
  4. Leadership for Tomorrow is a comprehensive yet concise, well-researched, well-synthesised, lucid, and eminently practical book. The four-quadrant approach very wisely encompasses all the facets of success - not merely the academic side - and it is refreshing to see social factors taken into comprehensive consideration, as well as all the various dimensions of an education, with a student-centric mindset.

    Leadership for Tomorrow will be excellent thought provocation and guidance for school leaders at all levels of policy-making, administration, and teaching.
  5. Leadership for Tomorrow is an excellent book that weaves together an innovative and invigorating set of ideas and places them securely in a wider context. It guides the reader through some complex and unexplored terrain in a very straightforward and helpful way, and brings the voice of school leaders to the fore to illustrate and add to key points. The authors' analysis is sharp and clever and will provide even the most experienced practitioners and researchers with new insights.

    But above all, Leadership  for Tomorrow conveys a refreshing sense of optimism without being naive in what it says. It critiques without being gloomy and negative, respects and acknowledges history without being mournful about its passing, and builds on teachers' and school leaders' natural desire to do good work. Significantly, the authors paint a picture of the future as one of possibility and opportunity in which schools and school leaders have a very important part to play. 
  6. Both optimistic and immensely readable, Leadership for Tomorrow looks afresh at school leadership today and sets out a wealth of thoughtful propositions to help school leaders feel their way towards the future. The authors articulate the exciting opportunities for school leaders and challenge us all to think differently about school leadership.
  7. Leadership for Tomorrow takes a refreshing look at the role of leadership in schools, looking forward to how leaders can bring their communities together towards a deeper understanding of education and the needs of society in the future. The authors make an interesting argument that we must change how we view the role of leadership for tomorrow, and the book is enlivened by case studies of leaders and very useful questions posed for the reader to take up in further discussions with colleagues.

    Leadership for Tomorrow would be extremely useful on master's courses in education.
  8. There's a crisis of leadership, both nationally and globally, and it is felt by almost every school leader. Not only do we face an uncertain future but, more than ever, we question those who step forward to guide us. And they look weak. We have none of the great role models of the recent past around whom we can rally. It falls to each school to find its way.

    But Leadership for Tomorrow reminds us that we do not necessarily need individuals as charismatic role models to show us the values and goals that should guide our lives. As they rightly proclaim, -˜leadership needs to be seen in terms of leading a community rather than an organisation.'

    Leadership for Tomorrow presents us with five leaders in England who provide examples of how they have led their school communities by building trust, collaboration, and cooperation with outsiders and their broader networks. It is a refreshing story of how leaders can build social capital by how they work as much as by what they do. The focus is not on -˜me' but on -˜us'. And what is striking is that for this kind of school leadership, there is no template. For some, the focus has been on agency. For others, it has been disadvantage. Or enterprise. Or engagement. None of these are proper subjects for Ofsted inspection because there are many paths that the restless leader can take. It is too early to throw a framework over the question of -˜leading for tomorrow' and perhaps the only mistake the authors make is to try.

    There is only one yawning gap that I hope the authors go on to fill. Their lens is their own country with its own curious history, its own singular politics and - inevitably - its own constrained perspective. The school of tomorrow, however, is being invented not in a single nation, nor in a dialogue with a near neighbour like Finland, but rather in every corner of the world. And like never before, others' experience is within our reach.

    But Leadership for Tomorrow is a book that is easy to enjoy. It broadens thinking about what schools are for, doesn't use uncertainty as a reason to retrench, and it offers the invitation to disagree.
  9. More than ever, our schools need considered, authentic, practical, and, most importantly, objective support. Great school leaders have never been interested in politics; they want to do the best for their schools, their pupils, their colleagues, and their communities. Leadership for Tomorrow is a brilliant book that will galvanise readers in their efforts to lead our schools forward and towards tomorrow.

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