Hatfield headteacher writes the book on leadership

A HATFIELD head-teacher has published a book about life at the helm of a successful, and sustainable, school.

Debra Massey, head of Howe Dell School, in The Runaway, Hatfield, penned Leading The Sustainable School as a way of encouraging leadership in young teachers and students.

The book is based around Debra’s own experience as a headteacher, and the dramatic turn around that has seen Howe Dell go from struggling primary to multi-award-winnning educational establishment.

The key, Debra suggests, is not being too afraid to try new things.

“Often as a young teacher, I was the keen volunteer, eager to push boundaries, desperate to enrich learning, by trying anything new,” she said.

“However, it was during my role as deputy I learned the value of leading a team, playing to people’s strengths, a skill I have continued to highlight during my two headships.”

Debra moved from headteacher of St John’s School in Lemsford to take over at Howe Dell in 2005, when the school was struggling with a deficit budget, falling student numbers and an Ofsted report that deemed the curriculum unsatisfactory.

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But since relocating to The Runway in 2007, the school has thrived.

In 2008, Debra won the Primary Headteacher of the Year at the East of England Awards.

The following year, Howe Dell itself scooped the Sustainable School honour at the same ceremony.

“What has emerged is a phoenix of a new school and learning community which aims to fly higher than obstacles and boundaries can reach,” Debra said.

“I wrote scenarios from a real school and simply unpicked what makes them memorable and hopefully useful as a leadership tool.

“Much is common sense, giving the reader permission to take that risk and maybe try something new. Sometimes there are disappointments and projects fail, but in an environment when shared inspiration can be contagious, there are plenty of new ideas to replace those which fall by the wayside.

“Perhaps most importantly, is the acceptance that if we grow leadership in others, then we can shape the journey of a school development.

“In this way, the leadership is shared and therefore sustainable.”

Leading The Sustainable School is available on Amazon, priced �19.99.