Neil Renton Harrogate Grammar School
Neil Renton, Harrogate Grammar School

Video: Harrogate Headteacher on his new book on leadership

2 September 2023

The Headteacher of Harrogate Grammar School has released a book on leadership – New School Leader: What Now? Simple lessons to navigate doubt, embrace challenge and lead well every day.

Neil Renton has spent a number of years since being appointed headteacher at Harrogate Grammar School, this book represents the culmination of his experiences, and advice to those in a leadership role.

It is published by Critical Publishing is an uplifting and honest story about how school leaders develop and hone their
practice over time to navigate doubt, overcome challenge, and lead well every day.

It has been written for all school leaders and headteachers who are feeling daunted by their new role or need a little inspiration and encouragement in an existing role.

Neil Renton answers that simple question – what now? – with guidance to help navigate feelings of self-doubt and overcome leadership challenges.

Based on the author’s own experience, he tells the uplifting and incredibly honest story of his leadership journey as the new headteacher of one of the largest comprehensive schools in the North of England. Neil Renton captivates you with his story, from being appointed in late 2018, leading through a pandemic, and coping with an Ofsted inspection.

It examines the kinds of challenges that new leaders face and how they can be overcome, dealing with both one-off events and the everyday of school leadership.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said:

Something happens when you step from being a senior leader to being appointed as headteacher. Everyone tells you it will feel different, but no one can quite explain how.

Neil Renton’s book does just that. From its first sentence, it presents the most authentic and powerfully articulated account of the shift that happens inside us as we take on the mantle of head or principal.

I like the book’s mixture of candour, values and practical insights. I like its lack of misty-eyed sentimentalism. I like the way it focuses on the details of headship — the interactions with staff, the decision-making process, the skills involved in communicating with clarity and openness. This is no checklist of tricks and gimmicks. It’s a reassuringly honest yet optimistic reminder of the day-to-day reality of one of society’s most important roles: being a headteacher. I thoroughly recommend it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.



Go toTop