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June 2019 - Year 21 - Issue 3

ISSN 1755-9715

New Titles from Crown House Publishing, An Award-Winning Independent Publisher

We are delighted to announce that the newest addition to the Crown House Publishing list is Imperfect Leadership by the inimitable Steve Munby.

Due to be published in June 2019.

Steve Munby has spent his whole career in education, first as a teacher and then as an adviser and inspector before moving into leadership. Between 2005 and 2017 he was chief executive first of the National College for School Leadership in England and then of The Education Development Trust, an international education charity. He is now a self-employed consultant and speaker on the subjects of  leadership and system reform.

When asked to describe his own leadership style, Steve uses the word ‘imperfect’. This is not something he apologises for; he feels imperfect leadership should be celebrated. Too often we are given examples of leaders who are put on some kind of pedestal, lauded as superheroes who have it all worked out and are so good at what they do that nobody else can come close.

His new book is the antidote to that flawed perception.

Imperfect Leadership is an honest reflection upon leadership. It is about Steve’s journey, covering his highs and lows and, ultimately, how he learned to refine and improve his leadership. It is about messy, trial-and-error, butterflies-in-the-stomach leadership and about thoughtful and invitational leadership – and the positive impact it can have. Here, his story and insights are wrapped around edited highlights of the 12 keynote speeches that sit at the heart of the book, all made between 2005 and 2017 to a large audience of school leaders.

Steve Munby, former CEO of the National College for School Leadership, eloquently describes and reflects upon a leadership approach that is strong on

self-awareness and positive about the

importance of asking for help.

“Helping children become properly

mind-fit for the 21st century is not just desirable; it is possible too.”

– Guy Claxton and Becky Carlzon


The problem is, many people in education don’t understand this yet. Some of those who don’t are in positions of power and they are actually blocking the way forward.

Our current, traditional method of education isn’t good at producing the independent thinkers and learners which this chaotic world so desperately needs. Of course, a lucky few school leavers turn out to be powerful learners in spite of their schooling; most, however, do not. So many are poorly served by their time in the classroom. 

This is not a criticism of teachers. They are doing what they must to survive in an increasingly pressurised and polluted system. Under immense pressure to raise standards and improve grades, they have been obliged to teach in a way which is creating anxious and closed-minded students.

All is not lost, however. A lot of what teachers are already doing can contribute to the development of children’s independent learning power – but sometimes this is not as joined-up or coherent as it could be.

Essentially, schools have two main aims: to help young people develop the skills, knowledge, and grades they will need for further study and employment; and to help them cultivate the qualities of mind that will determine – even more than their test scores – how well they will flourish in life more generally.

We know that it is the nitty-gritty of teaching that matters most in schools, but different styles and methods of teaching lead to different outcomes. One style can lead to happy children with poor achievement. Another can get good results but runs the serious risk of creating students who are compliant and dependent. But there is a third that gets good results in a way that also develops independence, initiative, determination, and a love of learning – the holy grail of pedagogy. It is what esteemed professor of education and internationally renowned cognitive scientist Guy Claxton calls the Learning Power Approach (LPA), and it really does deliver the best of both worlds.

In Powering Up Children, Guy Claxton has teamed up with primary school teacher Becky Carlzon in order to harness the design principles of the LPA to provide a rich resource of effective teaching strategies for use in the primary school classroom.

The LPA is a pedagogical formula which aims to develop all children as confident and capable learners – ready, willing, and able to choose, design, research, pursue, troubleshoot, and evaluate learning for themselves, alone and with others, in school and out. The approach therefore empowers teachers to complement their delivery of content, knowledge, and skills with the nurturing of positive habits of mind that will better prepare students to flourish in later life.

Guy and Becky offer a thorough explanation of how the LPA’s design principles apply to this level of education and, by presenting a wide range of practical strategies and classroom examples, illustrate how they can be put into action with different age groups and in different curricular areas – especially relating to literacy and numeracy, but also in specific subjects such as science, history, art, and PE.

In his foreword, Ron Berger sums up the current situation perfectly:

“... many schools feel that they cannot focus on these skills and habits during the school day because there is just not enough time. They see time in school as a trade-off: we can focus on academic learning to prepare for exams – the measure of our accountability – or we can focus on cultivating student character. Given limited time, character must be put aside. The irony is that these things are not separate. Focusing on character at the same time as academics builds students who are stronger at both. They work together: the dispositions that make students good and effective human beings also make them successful learners. We don’t need to choose.”


Please check the Leadership Skills for Teachers course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the How to Motivate Your Students course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Methodology and Language for Primary course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Methodology and Language for Secondary course at Pilgrims website.

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