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036 Strategic thinking in schools with Andrew Gordon-Brown, Head of Kingswood School

In this episode, I talk to Andrew Gordon-Brown, Head of Kingswood School, about strategic thinking in schools. Andrew switched from a career in banking and finance to one in teaching in 2003, becoming a teacher in Economics at Radley College. He moved to his current position in 2020 and has been most recently working on a strategy for Kingswood School.

We discuss Andrew's regard for strategic thinking and how important it is to embed strategic thinking in the culture of the school. We then consider the importance of distributed leadership rather than a more hierarchical leadership structure and how a move away from a single, charismatic leader can benefit the school strategy.

We examine the importance of being strategic when setting up partnerships, how to develop partnership ideas that can bring additional resources into your school and how you can use strategy stacking to address multiple challenges that might be solved by partnerships.

We explore how to gain and retain focus when allocating limited resources, how to prioritise where to put your efforts and developing a strategic plan that pinpoints the two or three key areas where you wish to drive change. Finally, we discuss the challenges that have arisen in forming a strategy during the COVID pandemic, and what Andrew sees as the challenges and opportunities for the sector going forward.

Episode Highlights

  • Introducing Andrew Gordon-Brown (01:43)

  • The importance of strategic thinking (03:55)

  • The importance of distributed leadership (07:09)

  • The importance of being strategic when setting up partnerships (13:34)

  • Keeping focus when allocating limited resources (19:42)

  • Adapting to the COVID pandemic (26:07)

Download your copy of the free eBook ‘The Strategic Independent School Leader’ at

Download the ‘Rethinking Strategy in Independent Schools’ report which Andrew mentioned.

Catch up on previous episodes at


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