Making The Leap

Moving from deputy to head

By: Dr Jill Berry


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Size: 198 x 130mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781785831614
Format: Paperback
Published: November 2016

In Making the Leap, Dr Jill Berry offers practical advice which will be invaluable to anyone considering headship, drawing on her personal experience, her doctoral research and her extensive reading on the subject. Are you considering headship? Are you looking for advice about whether that would be a good career move for you? Maybe you're applying for roles, or have secured one and are wondering how to manage the transition.

Jill believes that the qualities that make you a good teacher are closely related to those which will serve you well in leadership. Every teacher is, in fact, a leader of learning within their own classroom. As your career progresses and you move from one leadership role to another, your sphere of influence gradually grows. You will have the chance to learn, to grow, to prove yourself. You will make mistakes and survive them. Headship is demanding, but it is also extremely rewarding: this book will encourage you to be clear-sighted about the challenges and responsibilities that lie ahead. Managing the transition from deputy to first-time headship successfully will ensure that you are on the most positive trajectory as you continue your leadership journey.

In Jill's experience, new heads often ask themselves similar questions. How can I balance the two roles as I begin to hand over my senior leader responsibilities and, at the same time, begin to assume the mantle of the head? How can I establish the most positive and productive relationship with the outgoing head, so that confidence is maintained and the school is energised, rather than threatened, by the change of school leader? How can I ensure the early months and years of headship are as successful as possible, so that the school develops and grows even stronger under my leadership? This book will answer all those questions and more.

Suitable for teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders who are considering school headship.

Contents include:

1. Introduction: making the leap – why would you want to?

  • Spheres of influence and what is distinctive about headship
  • My own experience
  • My research

2. Applying for headship: key principles of making a successful application

  • Deciding what to apply for
  • Making a strong written application
  • Preparing for and performing well at interview

3. Managing the lead-in period: the challenges of finding the balance in the period between appointment and formally taking up the role

  • The developing relationship with your predecessor
  • The opportunities of the lead-in period
  • The challenges of the lead-in period, and sources of support and strategies

4. The early months in post: 'inheriting' the role versus 'inhabiting' the role

  • Learning to lead in a new context
  • Navigating the differences between deputy headship and headship
  • Continuing to build the bridge as you walk on it

5. Established headship and beyond: moving beyond being 'the new head'

  • Making the most of the joy of headship
  • Balance and sustainability
  • Next steps?

 Making the Leap was a finalist in the 2017 Education Resources Awards in the Educational Book Award category.


Picture for author Dr Jill Berry

Dr Jill Berry

Jill has taught for thirty years in six different schools, both state and independent, and was a head for the last ten years of her time in schools. She has also taught at GCSE and A-Level in the evenings for several years. Since then, Jill has completed a doctorate that explored the transition into headship, wrote a book about it; Making The Leap: Moving from Deputy to Head and carried out an extensive range of leadership development work. She has also given a TEDx presentation on the subject ‘Take a Second Look: Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Others’, which you can watch here and has published three short novels.


  1. Making the Leap is a great encouragement to the educational Jedis of the future and the force is most definitely strong with Dr Berry!

    To read Kathleen McGillycuddy's full review click here to visit The Chartered College of Teaching website.
  2. 'I have been a keen follower of Jill's work for the last couple of years now, having discovered her through the medium of Twitter. It just shows how powerful one person on social media can be in influencing practice on a much wider scale than just a school or authority! Over the last two years, Jill's work both -˜hands on' and through social media has had a huge impact on the perspective and approach of thousands of teachers at all stages of their career, especially those at a senior level.

    Until about five years ago, I was led to believe that there was only one way to do things in education - the way a head teacher instructed it to be. Most classroom teachers and middle leaders will still experience this view of policy and practice. That is why Jill's work is so vital in developing an education system which gives teachers the space to flourish. This ultimately gives children the best prospects in life, developing them both academically and socially. Jill is a light-bringer: she seeks out best practice and great leadership. She shares widely, she passes it on and empowers others to do the right thing, and not just what they think is expected of them with every new government initiative. Jill is a great influencer - she quietly reassures and motivates, her work develops leaders who are principled and passionate, ones who care about their staff and their students, not just league tables. This is vital because most teachers only ever get the perspective of their head teacher, so getting it right with senior leaders ensures that schools will be person-centred caring environments whilst expecting excellence from everyone, they enable their community to exceed expectations.

    The book Making the Leap takes Jill's work one step further. Through the written word Jill is positively influencing the next generation of head teachers (as well as existing ones). She has thoughtfully carved a path through the echelons of senior leadership using a perfect balance of personal experience and findings from her doctoral thesis as well as the best current academic research. Jill cleverly navigates any potential situations in an informative and authentic manner which fills you with confidence and a sense of doing the right thing for the right reasons. Her engaging stories, concrete experiences and rhetorical questions convince you that you are taking a step closer to the best job in the world and that you're not alone in this exciting journey. Recurring themes provide a quietly reaffirming -˜you can do it' mantra which helps to prevent any self-doubt from creeping in, skilfully motivating and inspiring you to take the plunge. 

    Jill's words have been a joy to read, giving me the confidence to not only consider what my next step will be but also how it will look when the time comes. Most importantly, through Making the Leap, Jill allows senior leaders to dip their toe into the water, giving them an insight into what the role of the head teacher is really like - this is unprecedented and allows a realistic view of the pros and cons of such a weighty decision. Jill's book encourages the right people to step up for the right reasons, which is very much needed in the current climate. She has certainly made me, and thousands of other senior leaders like me, look at what we do and how we do it. I'd consider this book not as a CPD tool as such (although it is brilliant if you want to use it as such) but more of a moral satnav, to keep educators true to their purpose and to always keep in mind a person-centred approach, and for that she needs recognition on a much wider scale.
  3. I stumbled across Jill's book, as I do so many things these days, on Twitter. I've been a deputy for five years now and for the last couple have been attending - with no great success - headship interviews. My little library of headmaster autobiographies, including those of John Rae, Ian Beer, Nick Bomford, and Jonty Driver, has little to say on the subject of interview preparation - still less on the experience of failure. These heads went from one august post to another without ever appearing to break their stride. So it was that I devoured Jill's book greedily: the first I had seen with practical advice on making the transition from deputy to head. In focusing her research, and her considerable first-hand experience in this area, Jill has given to the wider educational community an extremely valuable resource. You won't find here trite advice that is the stock-in-trade of most how-to-prepare-for-interview books. Jill addresses the reader as a fellow professional, quickly getting down to the more detailed, nuanced material that aspirant heads must grapple with in order to impress at interview.

    There are chapters here on the nature of headship itself, including extensive material on those crucial first few weeks and months. Passages in which Jill describes her research are interspersed with ones in which she discusses her own experiences as a head. For me, these personal recollections brought the book to life; they left me with the reassuring sense that I was in the company of someone who'd seen it all before, first hand. Jill encourages her readers to think carefully, before they make the leap, about why it is they want a head teacher role. She cautions against applying for posts on a whim:

    -˜Not getting a job is not the worst scenario. Somehow managing to secure a job which is not the right job for you is definitely worse-¦'

    When or if you do decide to start applying, Jill's book provides detailed advice on how to prepare and perform well at interview. This is material which I will certainly be checking over again the next time I find myself summoned to interview. She is excellent too on the topic of failure, reassuring those who, like me, have tried and failed. She advises disappointed applicants to go back to their mentors:

    -˜If they believe in your ability to step up to headship, take reassurance from that. They know you better than a selection panel who met you over one or two days.'

    More than this, Jill goes on to suggest that the experience of having failed might make for a better head in the end: being willing to risk failure, and to cope with the fallout when it occurs, are important attributes of those who lead. As she explains:

    -˜...heads, in particular, should bear the scars of earlier disappointment to strengthen their sense of empathy with those who do not succeed in the appointment process.'

    I was also particularly struck by the concluding chapters in which Jill grapples with the problems which heads face once they are in the role. She has particularly sensible things to say, for example, about the important first few months in post. In getting to know a new school she suggests adopting an -˜appreciative enquiry' approach: one in which people's strengths and things that are going well are actively sought with a view to capitalising upon them. Jill's probity leaps out of every page: -˜Always treat staff with respect and humanity,' she counsels in one passage on dealing with underperformance.

    In the closing chapter, having given so much good advice on the ins-and-outs of headship, Jill encourages her readers to keep it all in context. Being a head can be an all-consuming job - Jill is clear that she never worked harder than in her role as head teacher - however, she reminds us that:

    -˜If all our self-worth derives from our professional identity this can be quite dangerous. People lose their jobs. This is a job, not your entire life, and not the sum total of who you are.'

    Amen to that.

    Whether, like me, you aspire to headship, or you are already an incumbent, Jill's book is packed with the sort of wisdom that only a lifetime spent in schools can bestow. It is a book I enjoyed reading immensely, and is one I will return to again regularly in the future.
  4. My first thoughts when I received this book was that the crevice over which the person on the cover is jumping was not wide enough!

    Perhaps this is because of my own journey to headship-¦ it was not a little hop but a large jump - and, if I am honest, I still haven't quite found solid footing on the other side.

    In the three weeks I have spent in my new role, I have likened my experience to that of an NQT. There is so much to learn and the demands on my time are never-ending.

    I was hoping for some great tips in this book for early headship and the first few months, but I found a whole lot more, making me wish that I had read it three months ago when I was going through the application process.

    The key parts focus on three areas: applying for a headship, the lead-up to beginning the new post and the early months.

    If you are applying for headship - or thinking about it - the book offers great insights into the interview stage particularly. It offers tips for interviewees, shares particular presentations and tasks that are often set for applicants, and questions you might like to consider. It also details the journeys of Jill Berry's six research participants, who deepen the reader's understanding into becoming a head.

    Throughout the book, I found myself nodding in agreement with lots of the sage advice. One paragraph in particular made me think: Not getting a job is not the worst scenario. Somehow managing to secure a job which is not the right job for you (and then having to try to do it) is definitely worse, and it is not good for the school either.

    You have to have resilience and perseverance, Berry reminds the reader. These are key traits of great leaders, and setbacks help to build these essential characteristics, although at the time it doesn't feel that way.

    The lead-in period, Berry says, is essential in a good handover from the outgoing head. The circumstances of my school meant that I did not have this, and after reading this I feel I have missed a vital part of my preparation for headship.

    This section again presents a series of well-researched thoughts and distils them into sensible advice for the new or soon-to-be head. A key theme is the importance of the relationships and the networks you need to build to be successful.

    When I reached the section I was most interested in - the early months of headship - I was not disappointed. The good advice keeps coming and Berry offers simple, pragmatic ideas for new heads to gain insights to their new school: don't be too quick to judge; support staff to do the best job they can; have an informal chat with staff at the beginning of your tenure to judge the lay of the land; go to as many extra-curricular activities as possible to build relationships; decide whether you will continue to teach.

    At the end of each chapter key themes are posed as questions. These are helpful and any deputy who is thinking about making the leap will find them valuable.

    My only criticism is that although it does mention internal promotion, there is a heavy focus on starting in a new school. This is probably because that is how most heads start, but I would have liked more about internal applicants.

    Overall, this is a must-read for anyone who is applying or thinking of applying to become a head.

    Click here to read the review on the Schools Week website.
  5. A major issue facing local authorities and academy trusts within all sectors of education are the high level of vacancies for head teachers. In an excellent book to encourage teachers who are reluctant to take on the additional responsibilities of headship, Jill Berry has drawn on her extensive practical and academic experience to offer quality guidance to those contemplating -˜making the leap'.

    The author addresses the key questions faced by many prospective and reluctant candidates whose inner voice is asking -˜why would I want to?', -˜do I really want the extra responsibility?', -˜will I be able to face the unexpected and difficult challenges?', etc. Jill Berry openly acknowledges that, unlike many heads who are thrown in at the deep end, she was fortunate prior to her first headship to have a -˜year-long lead-in period'. She is aware that many heads are -˜put to the test' without initial support or time to familiarise themselves with key features and personalities within the school, or to build relationships with senior staff and other key groups. She has broadened her awareness and insight into difficulties faced and responds by basing a great deal of her research on the work of six heads who have all faced a wide range of challenges. It was interesting to note that all of the research participants considered that the learning journey was a continuous process on a daily basis.  

    The structure and content of the book, with questions for reflection along with a broad range of reference material at the end of each chapter, is extremely thought provoking. The section on applying for headship will enable the reader to be self-reflective and judgmental with regard to key issues they face in order to make the leap successfully. This is an excellent text which all skilled teachers and middle managers contemplating -˜making the leap' should read as a priority to gain the skills, awareness and confidence of making a successful landing.
  6. Applying to be a head teacher! It's a daunting task, and a decision that must not be taken lightly. To many, becoming a head teacher is the pinnacle of their career, but the leap from deputy to head teacher is fraught with dangers and responsibilities, but also with opportunities and being able to share your educational vision.

    In her new book, Jill Berry calls upon her extensive experience of working in educational leadership to offer advice for those individuals considering making the leap from deputy to head teacher. Offering advice in the areas of applying for headship (including help in deciding what to apply for), managing the lead-in period (exploring the challenges and developing relationships), the early months in post (continuing to build the bridge as you walk on it) and establishing the headship role and beyond (trying to balance and sustain), the book is easily digestible and does not demand a timely commitment.

    This is a book worthy of consideration for those already in the deputy headship role, or for those wishing to know the path, attitudes and opportunities to continue up the career ladder towards being a head teacher. It is a thankless job - literally - but for those who succeed well in the head teacher role will have followed much of the wisdom and advice in this book.

    Click here to read the article in the online edition of the magazine.
  7. Dr Jill Berry is a source of inspiration for aspiring and existing school leaders around the country. Her sphere of influence is far and wide. Since the conception of #WomenEd she has been a massive support to our community and to me as an individual. She has the ability, in just a short TeachMeet presentation, to make you really think about why you do what you do, how you do it and what you stand for. Being 10 per cent braver and building the bridge as we cross it have become mantras to empower us. Her twitter feed, blogs and articles are a regular diet for us all as leaders so her reflection questions will resonate with her loyal readership. Jill has shared helpful personal experience, professional insight and imparted pragmatic advice that helped me, as an aspiring head teacher, before, during and after the application process. Being able to articulate my motivation for leading a school and ensuring I am prepared for this career transition have enabled me to make the leap. On my third interview I secured a headship role in a brand new school which opens next year. Jill is right when she says, -˜when you begin to apply for headships you do so with careful thought and discrimination'. With Jill's help I now know myself and know the kind of head that I want to be and I am delighted to have found my best fit.
  8. This book is a must for any senior leader who is considering taking the next step towards becoming a head teacher. Jill's reassuring words of encouragement help you to ask challenging questions of yourself - the mark of a great coach. From the outset, she poses reflections to establish whether headship is right for you and, indeed, whether you are right for headship. Those who decide they are can't help but benefit from her wisdom.

    Using a perfect balance of personal experience and findings from her doctoral thesis, as well as the best current academic research, Jill cleverly navigates any potential situations in an informative and authentic manner. Her engaging stories, concrete experiences and rhetorical questions convince you that you are taking a step closer to the best job in the world and that you're not alone in this exciting journey. Recurring themes provide a quietly reaffirming -˜you can do it' mantra, which helps to prevent any self-doubt from creeping in. Jill is skilfully motivating and inspires you to take the plunge. Jill's words have been a joy to read, giving me the confidence to consider not only what my next step will be but also how it will look when the time comes. Most importantly she has given me the insight to make this happen.

    Written for busy people, straight to the point, easy to read and impossible to put down, Making the Leap will help any senior leader find the transition to headship a walk in the park!
  9. Making the Leap provides an essential guide for all middle and senior leaders who are thinking about, or are about to embark upon, their first headship. It provides clear advice on all the key steps: from considering headship, to the application process, the lead-in period before taking up post and then on how to -˜inhabit' the role. Jill bases her advice on her own considerable experience and the research she undertook for her doctoral study. She does not lay out a blueprint for success, rather she considers different approaches and offers sage advice about how different challenges can be faced in a variety of ways. I found the book invaluable - a must-read for all those preparing to take up their first headship. I will be keeping my copy on my desk!
  10. At last, everyone can access Jill Berry's wisdom, wealth of knowledge and experience from the book shelf! If you have not had the pleasure of connecting with Dr Jill Berry prior to reading this book I assure you that after reading it you will want to. 

    Making the Leap is a must-read for any senior leader who aspires to headship. Jill has balanced research from her doctoral findings alongside her own personal career journey to create this incredibly practical, informative, thought-provoking and inspiring book.

    The questions for reflection at the end of each chapter are particularly helpful in challenging your own thinking and planning for the next steps in your leadership journey. Jill's passion for education is infectious and I feel humbled to have met her several years ago, when I was in a middle leadership position. Jill has had a huge impact on my recent career path: now her sound advice and guidance about preparing for headship and beyond is succinctly transcribed into print form for all to glean from.

    As I read each chapter I could feel butterflies of excitement and anticipation building and I will certainly be referring back to the book often as I make the leap!
  11. As someone waiting to making the leap, I found this book to be enjoyable, reassuring and helpful in equal measure. It's accessible but no -˜Idiot's Guide to'. Thorough research, fascinating interviews and years of being in the post herself mean that Jill's effective strategies and complex ideas are presented to the reader as if they are -˜just' common sense. Jill uses all her experience, research and warmth of personality to advise on the emotional aspects of the journey, from interested applicant to sitting in the hot seat. However, whilst this book considers the range of feelings and personal issues that the transition involves, it is also full of excellent, useful practical tips drawn from the author's own ten years of headship experience and, invaluably, those of her research participants. The twenty-minute meeting idea is a must! Jill skilfully explains the role of an effective head in terms of their impact on the school, its SLT, its teachers, pupils, families and the wider community. There is also sage advice for looking after oneself in such a rewarding but challenging role. This book isn't just about how to prepare for becoming, and being, a good head, it's about how to be an effective leader too. Whilst the book calls for plenty of confidence, it also counsels humility and the importance of seeking support and advice; crucially it tells you where to get that advice from. The structure is helpful and the questions at the end of each chapter aid reflection and act as action points about what to do in readiness for the next stage: from application to the end of the beginning period as a head. This book has made me appreciate even more what it is to be a good head, and how to be closer to it. It is essential reading for everyone from the ambitious or curious deputy to the head who has been in post for just a year or even beyond. This book will make anyone a better head and, as a result, their school a better school.
  12. Making the decision to apply for headship was by far the most difficult decision I have faced in my career to date. 

    My role as deputy head was a dream job. I loved it, felt fulfilled by it, and had long expressed the sentiment that I never wanted to be a head teacher as I loved working directly with the children too much. But when our head announced her retirement I found myself facing a huge dilemma. Did I really want to stay in my current role for the rest of my career (at least another decade!)? Would I be as happy working for another head teacher? Could I be anything like as successful as our outgoing head? Did others think I was up to the role? I certainly faced some pressure from those around me to consider applying for the role, but were they right in their estimation of me? Could I do the job? Could I even handle the appointment process? I had many sleepless nights with such thoughts thrashing about in my mind, and my poor family and friends had many hours of counselling me. 

    As I began reading Making the Leap, I found myself wishing I had had the erudite advice of Jill Berry to guide my thinking and help give me some perspective on these issues a year ago when I was making my decision. Jill's narrative shows enormous empathy and understanding, and reflects absolutely what I was going through during this time in my career transition. The questions for reflection provide just the sort of focus I needed when making the decision to apply for headship.

    Although I missed out on this sage guidance during that stage of the process, I have read this book at a time when it is just as valuable to me. Having applied and been appointed, I have been head-elect for nearly 9 months now, with my start date looming. I relate absolutely to the poem -˜The Leader' that Jill refers to about what on earth to do next! I have definitely experienced the opportunities and challenges Jill describes in the lead-in period, which has been wonderful and difficult simultaneously. It helps so much to know that what I have gone through, and am about to go through, is absolutely normal and I am not as alone in things as I sometimes feel! The advice about recognising and acknowledging the significant differences between the roles of deputy and head is food for thought. The experiences and contemplations of Jill and her research participants are without doubt benefitting me as I embark on this crucial next stage in the transition. I will be holding some of these thoughts in my head as the new term begins!

    Jill's intelligent reflection, advice, recommendations and counsel, all grounded in research as well as extensive experience, have served as an enormous boon to me at a point when I really need it! I would recommend this as a very helpful read to anyone who is even remotely considering the next step in their career. 

    Thank you, Jill!
  13. Those of us who know Jill vicariously through Twitter are already aware of what a force for good she is in education. True to form, she has written an extremely thorough and well-researched book in which she explores the journey from deputy to head.

    In the introduction, Jill suggests that this may not be the kind of book you read from cover to cover, but I found myself devouring it voraciously. The book is based on Jill's primary research - research which involved shadowing six senior leaders over the period from appointment to headship, through the lead-in and into their first few months as an incumbent. Being based on these real, deeply human stories and peppered with Jill's own first-hand experiences, the advice that comes through is authentic and practical. As someone who's been through several headship interviews (so far unsuccessfully) I found Jill's advice on putting together an application and preparing for the interview process hugely useful. But more than this, it was her advice on coping with the disappointment of rejection that really made an impression on me. True to form, she is searingly honest about her own experiences of failure and how she coped with these. Jill has an upbeat, positive message to all those who have ever tried and failed - with practical advice on how to learn from the experience and bounce back.

    The later stages of the book deal with those first few days, weeks and months in post. They are a must-read for all those who aspire to headship and want someone who's been there before to give them an idea of what it might be like. I finished the book inspired, reassured and determined to continue my bid to become a head teacher. Jill is clear - for those with the right temperament it is the best job in the world.
  14. As a recently appointed head teacher, this is the book I wish I had read before I took up the post - or even before I started applying! It is rooted in extensive research from Jill's doctorate and the chapters are packed with real-life examples of the challenges, opportunities and unexpected twists and turns of the transition to headship. Even better, it shows how others have responded to these, providing ready-made solutions! Each chapter also has really helpful reflection points; the questions are invaluable in helping you apply the experience of others to your own context. In short, this is a must-read for anyone, at any stage of their career, who might be considering headship in the future. It should convince you, in Dr Berry's words, that it is a journey well worth taking.
  15. Making the Leap provides insight and understanding into the transition from deputy to head teacher. The book draws not only on Jill's extensive leadership experiences but also those of six deputy head teachers and their leadership journeys. Skilfully written, engaging, thought-provoking and underpinned by high quality academic research: in whatever leadership capacity you are currently working within, there is something in this book for everyone. The book will certainly inspire you to make the leap in leadership.
  16. One of the biggest fears in moving from deputy to headship is the unknown. In this tremendously useful book, Jill Berry helps deputy heads identify the types of unknowns that may be waiting as they move into headship. As deputies make the transition from the operational to the strategic they need wisdom and sage advice and it can be found here in abundance. This book offers many opportunities for self-reflection; the thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter have already been immensely helpful to me as I begin my journey as a head and I know I will continue to refer to them over the coming months and years. Dr Berry's findings are rooted in careful research, with reference to many useful first-hand experiences. As I begin my first headship, seeking to lift, inspire, encourage and motivate, I am excited by the joy that Dr Berry has found in this role and which she has communicated so clearly and helpfully in Making the Leap. I would encourage all those who aspire to headship, or who are newly appointed, to read this immensely valuable guide.
  17. A must-read for deputies on the journey to headship, those considering making the leap or supporting others to do so. This book offers principled and pragmatic advice that demystifies and makes sense of significant school leadership transition. I have benefited enormously from Jill's wisdom and support in my career and am pleased that she has captured her knowledge and research in such a helpful and accessible way.
  18. Making the Leap by Dr Jill Berry is the most impressive and useful book I have read about preparing for headship and how best to make the transition from deputy to leader of a school. A book of this nature is long overdue as until now there has been nothing comparable or as comprehensive - this addresses the experience of applying for, preparing for, and becoming a head. Dr Berry's book is especially useful in this regard; through interviews and a series of meetings with six new heads during their lead-in period she has been able to provide insights into the experience of transition to headship as it is lived rather than in retrospect. 

    While well informed by her own academic research, this is nonetheless a highly readable and enjoyable text, with Dr Berry's own experiences and anecdotes placed alongside those of her interviewees. It is as easily read in one sitting as it is dipped into, and I am sure I will be returning to key chapters and sections throughout the coming months and years. It is also an immensely practical book, with questions for reflection provided at all stages. The key challenges of each stage are first made clear and then addressed through eminently sensible advice about how best to respond. Equally, the book is very well structured, covering each stage from the most important question - why apply? - through the application process and lead-in period, and then onto the early months and making the most of what is, in Dr Berry's words, the best job in the world.

    The book is most impressive and original on the topic of role identity, of how there are necessary compromises and recalibrations as a head-elect is changed by their new school and by occupying a new professional persona. These sections were absolutely fascinating, and I have not read anything as well developed or expressed on this topic as is articulated by Dr Berry. Making the Leap is a superb text for giving a sense of the range and variety of the job. For many years to come it will be the text that prospective heads, heads-elect and serving heads take down from their shelves to refer to and reread.
  19. Reading this book is much like sitting with Jill for a robust and restorative cup of coffee, having the kind of conversation which leaves you reflecting on what you have to offer, what you hope to achieve and with a real sense of how you will go about it. 

    With her unique and fundamentally joyful, optimistic voice, Jill shares her impressive wisdom and experience in a book which is well worth a read, whether you're firmly on the path to headship or flirting with the idea from a distance.

    Throughout, she balances impressive wisdom and experience with humour and humility - challenge with compassion and potential difficult truths with words of comfort. Jill urges resilience in the face of setbacks, and strongly advises an astute choice of school and context for those aspiring to be heads. The book is full of personal anecdotes - not just of Jill's successes, but of her setbacks and how they made her a better and stronger leader. I was particularly touched by the journey of the champagne bottle to and from the fridge as Jill tried repeatedly to secure a Head of English post in the 1980s.

    The book is full of pragmatic advice, from making optimum use of internal and external resources to dealing with expected and unexpected (and sometimes tragic) challenges. It focuses throughout on the crucial importance of relationship-building, careful preparation and noticing and celebrating the -˜bright spots' in your new school.

    I'm not yet ready to be a head teacher, but, having read Making the Leap, I feel that the leap itself may not only be possible, but, for all its challenges, with wise choices and careful preparation, could also be a genuinely joyful experience. In addition, this book gives me the feeling that the kinds of heads inspired by the Berry school of thought will be the kinds of leaders who give us genuine reason to be optimistic for our children and our students.
  20. Jill writes for leaders and future leaders everywhere. I love the way that she uses the best research to analyse the journey to headship and beyond. Jill's research conversations with new heads provide useful insights. She reflects on these conversations alongside practical suggestions to help school leaders and - most importantly - poses challenging questions to consider, inspiring us to think deeply for ourselves. As a new head teacher who has just completed -˜stage zero' of headship, it has been invaluable for me to read Jill's book before I embark on -˜stage one' next term.

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