What does it mean for a headteacher to have high expectations?

Key insights

guest-postDam Sally CoatesDame Sally Coates has spent more than 40 years working in challenging schools, including a decade of leading some of the toughest schools in London. She has just published Headstrong: 11 Lessons of School Leadership. Here she expands on one of those lessons: being courageous and having high expectations for all.


quote-start All headteachers would claim to have high expectations, but their actions don’t always live up to these claims. Some headteachers lower their expectations by denying an academic curriculum to the majority of their students. Others do so by tolerating low-level disruption in class, or by making excuses for their students based on their ‘difficult background’. Perhaps it’s not until you’ve personally seen students shatter the glass ceilings imposed on them by society that you can truly believe that all students can be successful, even in the toughest academic courses.

In my first headship at Sacred Heart in…

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