Why Not Do It Differently? A New Organisational Recipe for Schools

Almost anywhere in the world, schools follow a fairly predictable management recipe which goes something like this:


  • Take 1 x Principal
  • Add 2 or 3 Deputy Principals to taste
  • Mix in a dozen Head Teachers or Heads of Subject
  • Sprinkle harassed Grade Tutors
  • Add plain old Teachers as required
  • Fold in Tech Support Guys
  • Finally, add the most essential ingredients: The Administration and Maintenance Staff

In general, this recipe works fairly reliably. The problem is that it is bland and stodgy. And the recipe doesn’t take the addition of anything new very well. Schools which follow this recipe tend to adapt to change either very badly or very, very slowly. Worse, it is my contention that in the very near future, traditionally organised schools will be out of sync with the appetites of students, parents and the workplace.

By changing a few key elements of the traditionalist school hierachy, I believe it is possible to turn schools into more efficiently functioning, future-orientated, dynamic and adaptive environments.


  • Take 1x Human Resources Manager (Formerly the principal. Who’s role is now more intently focused on the developmental needs of his / her staff and students.)
  • Add 1x Admin Manager (to manage finances, timetables, calendars and the other nitty-gritties. This person must not teach.)
  • Sous-vide one Student Liaison team (Whose job is to monitor, assist and mentor an allocated group of students (from multiple grades) and who are required to assist these students and their parents with any difficulties they may have.)
  • Crucially, fold in one Professional Development Specialist (PDS) and one Learning Support Specialist (LSS). (The former to ensure that staff are implementing the best pedagogical practice, the latter to assist students to learn better.)
  • Chevise a soupçon of Technology Integration Advisor to assist both the PDS and LSS above.
  • Grate in one Data Analyst / Research Specialist to monitor, number-crunch and report trends.
  • Poach a Resource Curator or two and grate them into the mix.
  • Ensure that your Teachers stay fresh, crisp and lively by giving them the tools, training, support and level of involvement in decision-making they need to let their influence dominate the dish.
  • Sprinkle at all levels with a few interested students. Allow them to shadow, to attend meetings and to get involved in key activities.
  • Add your admin and maintainance people.
  • Blend and serve.

About Sean Hampton-Cole

Fascinated by thinking & why it goes wrong➫ (Un)teacher ➫iPadologist ➫Humanist ➫Stirrer ➫Edupunk ➫Synthesist ➫Introvert ➫Blogger ➫Null Hypothesist.
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4 Responses to Why Not Do It Differently? A New Organisational Recipe for Schools

  1. It is possible to turn schools into more efficiently functioning, future-orientated, dynamic and adaptive environments.

  2. Your recommendations have some merit. Principals must be freed from their onerous managerial duties and allowed to focus on instructional leadership and developmental matters. This is one way to move schools forward quickly. At present, principals are bogged down with administrivia, discipline, and what I would call maintenance of systems and structures.

  3. cthebean says:

    Reframing schools needs to happen. I am thinking a lot about this and each day another idea emerges.
    I think the theme that doesn’t go away is where we need to start.

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