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Leadership advice on presentations


Below is comprehensive advice on preparing a presentation when applying for an educational leadership role.


  • Modify voice and tone

  • Stick to time – time yourself at home

  • Make eye contact with everyone

  • Engage your audience

  • Make it look / sound interesting

Stick to ideas, or key words and develop verbally – avoid loads of illegible text


  • Read from notes without looking up

  • Sit down

    Use too much jargon for governors

  • Leave all communication skills outside the door

  • Don’t overdo speed, movement and colour on powerpoint 


- It is about your presentation skills. It is about delivery as much as content. If you lose the audience with a poor presentation style, it doesn’t matter how pertinent your content is.

- You will be assessed by governors on how you present yourself, and your material. Content should be action-oriented, pertinent to their school, simple but illustrating your vision

As you present, your audience will be considering:

  • Can I work with this person?

  • Will they lead, challenge, develop our teachers? 

  • Can they communicate clearly with our parents?  

  • Do they understand this institution, its community and demographic?

Preparing a generic statement

You will have to deliver at least one presentation in a headship selection process. This is an opportunity to showcase your communication skills, your educational philosophy and your vision for the future – not your knowledge.

Governors ask for presentations often around the future:

  • How will you add value to our school community? 

  • How will you lead us from good to outstanding?

What do you consider to be the main challenges of the role and how would you address them?

What is your vision for our school - where will we be in 3 years?

Imagine the governors are parents. How will you work with them as partners to move the school forward?

You may not be given the title until the night before the presentation. But you can begin to put together a framework for your vision for school improvement.

Ask yourself:

  • Which components make a constantly improving school?

  • What structures or strategies lie beneath? 

  • What will your school look, feel and sound like?  

  • What do you want for your pupils and staff?  

  • What is your educational philosophy?  

  • What are your non-negotiables? 

  • If you consider how to condense your proposition, your experience to date, your strengths and skills-set and your educational philosophy to a manageable size and format, you can amend it to suit the context of the school you are applying for.

Tailoring to fit the school’s context

You will need to convey a number of priorities in a very short time:

Your personal vision for the school community – where you want to get to, a statement about ethos, commitment, learning, collaboration, how the children will feel and learn

The current situation – the challenges, issues, Ofsted identified areas for development, the constructive stuff you’ve picked up from your visit, research, day 1 of assessment day 

How you will tackle those challenges – giving evidence for strategies or achievements in the past that have had an impact – solutions to the problems 

A concluding statement which clarifies how you will add values, what you want to achieve, who is going to be integral to the process, something up beat

Ask yourself

If the governors only take one thing away from this presentation, about me and what I’ll do as their new Head, what do you want them to remember?
What do you want them to know about you as a leader? Your priorities, achievements, hopes for their school?


Communication is key element in delivering a presentation so it must be simple, well structured, coherent, ordered yet inspiring and exciting. Your listeners must be left with a clear impression that you have done your homework on their school, you have a sense of what the issues are and some clear tangible ideas on how to tackle them, working with them as partners.

Remember that you work in a people organisation – personalise your delivery - have you mentioned students? Parents, staff and governors?
Systems and strategies alone can be rather dry and uninspiring.


With your generic statement or a more tailored version, draft and re-draft through practising your delivery. Become as comfortable with the material as you can, so that you can drop in anecdotal evidence or make quick asides or references to previously mentioned strategies or observations about their school.

Time yourself – you must get your key messages across clearly, engagingly and succinctly

Engagement – smile, read your audience, be aware of your hands and feet when standing; ask for a glass of water; use your notes as a prompt and look at your listeners 

- Try to speak sincerely and from the heart and smile

Leadership - PR, being a role model, a figure head, a networker, an ambassador, a spokesperson for the school – these elements are becoming more and more prominent in governors expectations for their new head and engaging public speaking is central to this