Expert understanding of all aspects of leadership in education

Gordon Smith

As a senior leader for 23 years Gordon has developed an expert understanding of all aspects of leadership in education. Therefore, he created education-leadership as a vehicle to use this expertise to support leaders, colleagues, students and pupils in a wide range of settings.

Gordon’s experience as a leader in education has developed from secondary expertise to incorporate nursery to degree level. As a Head and Principal, he successfully led two large secondary schools; he built, as founding-CEO, a Trust of seven primary and secondary academies, developing and improving learning across the family of schools; as Chair of Governors he has led improvements in primary, independent secondary EBD, and further & higher education, including a two-college merger; he has been Chair of the Board of a successful school improvement company and sits as an Independent Member on the Finance Committee of a major exam board. His vast experience means that he has led the appointment of almost 30 senior posts and has been involved as a leader or governor in over 20 OFSTED inspections, including two that resulted in outstanding judgements.

Specialist areas of:

Education Leadership

1. Supporting trusts

2. Supporting governing bodies

3. Supporting senior teams

Supporting trusts

  • Developing mission & vision
  • Appointing the CEO, Head / Principal, executive leaders
  • CEO coaching
  • Strategic planning
  • Organisational development
  • Performance management of executive leaders
  • Improving the performance of school


Supporting governing bodies

  • Developing or implementing mission & vision
  • Appointing the Head / Principal
  • Improvement planning
  • Performance management of the Head / Principal
  • Critical friend to the Chair
  • Evaluating school performance
  • Improving the impact of governance
  • Honing for OFSTED


Supporting senior teams

  • Implementing mission & vision
  • Head / Principal coaching
  • Organisational development
  • Action-planning for improvement
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Becoming the Principal


Headteacher Appointment

The support we received from Gordon towards the appointment of a new Headteacher at the school has been invaluable. Gordon set out a very clear plan, with timeline, for the Governors on how the process should be conducted and was available to advise on every step of the journey. Gordon was able to support at short notice with related issues where his advice and experience enabled the Governing Body to reach a successful outcome. The service that Gordon offered allowed the process to run smoothly, taking out any stress for Governors in the lead up to the interview day. The process that had been outlined had been fully discussed with us and agreed before Gordon went away to work out the detail, logistics and practicalities so that Governors could just arrive on the day and immerse themselves in achieving the objective at hand. The process was robust, fair and appropriately challenging for the post that it applied to. We have greater confidence in our work for having used Education Leadership as the consultants and particularly Gordon, for his unwavering commitment and attention to detail throughout the process.

Lyla Dey – Chair of Governors – The Hayes Primary School

CEO Appointment

Thanks to Gordon for the excellent support provided to me and our trustees in making a very successful CEO appointment. I particularly appreciated your professional insight, your knowledge of the challenges and requirements of the role in question, and your attention to detail which was a strength throughout the process. Our trustees were grateful for the quality of your communication, documentation, and the planning of timeline and tasks, as well as your helpful facilitation. All of this allowed us, as trustees, to focus on making a successful appointment.

Roseanne Ellis – Chair – Fairchildes Academy Community Trust

Governing Body Strategy Day

Feedback following Strategy Day with Governors:

Usefulness of the Day          4.8 / 5

“Very well facilitated.”

“The purpose of the day was clear beforehand and throughout. Plenty of opportunity to consolidate what we know and where we are now and, from that point, explore where we want to go and what to investigate.”

“Thank you.”

Governing Body Strategy Day

My school enlisted the support of Education Leadership in preparing for an ambitious Governor Strategy event where the focus was on exploring the future direction of the organisation and potential areas of growth.    Gordon worked closely with me as we went through the various stage of preparation to create a highly successful day.    As a hospital school, we are a highly specialised sector, and Gordon was able to quickly gain a very clear understanding of our unique context.    His advice and guidance along the way was much appreciated and the governors were able to really focus on what makes our school outstanding and what we might do next to benefit children and young people of the future.    As a facilitator, Gordon was highly skilled in giving us space to discuss what was needed, whilst always keeping us on track towards several end goals.   The strategy day materials Gordon created were also key in the success of the event.   I look forward to working with Education Leadership again in the future.

Maarten Crommelin – Headteacher – Maudsley & Bethlem Hospital School

The Archbishop Lanfranc Academy – Strategy Day

Feedback following Strategy Day with Governors and SLT:

Usefulness of the day          4.5/5

“Outstandingly thought-provoking”

“Truly felt infused with passion and drive”

“Excellent explanation of all areas”

“An extremely useful day”

School Improvement

Gordon’s outstanding support has helped us in our journey of school improvement; this has been truly invaluable, challenging me to think deeply about the hard questions that are essential to creating positive change and the right conditions for learning. He is knowledgeable, professional, and empathetic to the unique needs of our school. He has demonstrated an impressive ability to engage and communicate with all members of our community, including students, parents and staff. He has been particularly skilled in providing constructive feedback that has enabled us to reflect on our practice and make meaningful improvements. Thanks to this support, our school has been able to identify and prioritise areas for improvement, develop strategies to address these areas, and measure our progress over time. Our school has benefited tremendously from this collaborative and rigorous approach to improvement, and I am confident that we will continue to see positive results in the years to come.

Overall, I cannot speak highly enough of the exceptional support I have received. The impact it has had on our school community is immeasurable, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this service to any school seeking to improve their practice and achieve their goals.

Kirstie Woodcock – Principal – Woodcote High School

CEO Performance Management

I have greatly valued Gordon’s experience and knowledge as he has supported our trust development and the performance management of our Co-CEOs.  He is skilled at appropriately challenging our thinking and suggesting ways forward.  He is highly professional and thoughtful in his advice and guidance, both to trustees and executive colleagues.

Sian Mathias – Chair of Trustees – Wandle Learning Trust

MAT Growth

Your talk (Growing the Trust) absolutely hit the spot and set us up for a very useful day. Trustees found your knowledge and experience invaluable in moving their thinking forward.

Chair – London MAT

Headteacher Appointment

Gordon has provided exceptional support to the Governing Body in our work to appoint our new Headteacher. His preparation of marketing content, liaison with stakeholders, engagement with potential candidates and preparation of selection tasks and materials were all first-rate. This was underpinned by his vast leadership experience that helped to provide an outstanding level of support and guidance to the Governing Body.

Hiten Savla – Chair of Governors – Woodcote High School

Education Leadership Blog

Review of College Governance

I recently began an external review of governance at a west London college on behalf of the Association of Colleges. It is always a...

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School Review

Tremendously enjoyable this week to work with a colleague carrying out a review of The Archbishop Lanfranc Academy. Super students, great...

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Assessment Centres

Fascinating last week to work with AET and Ambition Institute at the AET Assessment Centres for aspiring Principals. The commitment of AET...

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Coulsdon Cluster of Heads

It is always great to work with colleagues from my old stomping ground - Croydon. Enjoyed this morning talking to Heads from Coulsdon...

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I am looking forward to meeting our new NPQH Cohort today as they continue on their journey to headship. Once again I am privileged to be...

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BRIT School

After working with BRIT earlier in the year to develop their new SEF in advance of OFSTED inspection, looking forward to spending quite a...

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Get in touch now for a no-obligation chat about how we can support your goals

Development and implementation of mission and vision

Top level appointments

Strategic, improvement and action planning

Performance management

Honing for OFSTED

Executive coaching

Leadership development

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