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Building a Future-Ready Leadership Team in Your School

Nowadays schools aren’t viewed just as institutions where children go to learn. Instead, they are viewed as a passport to a future career, and families need to make balanced decisions when it comes to choosing schools that will prepare their children for the future. We already talked about what makes up a Future Ready School environment, but now we want to address the topic of building Future-Ready Leadership teams in schools - and why that is an important step of a school’s progress to becoming future-ready.

Characteristics of a Future Ready School Leadership

Future Ready School Leadership is not something that we can easily observe with our own eyes when researching schools. While some schools might have very pompous websites and pictures to show off to visitors, the situation might be different in reality. See our blog post about choosing the right high school for more information on what “red flags” you should watch out for if you’re looking for a future-ready school


Thus, if we want to try and take a stab at guessing whether or not a school has Future Ready Leadership, we should pay attention to characteristics like the following: 


Collaborative Leadership

According to Oxford Leadership, Collaborative Leadership is “the process of engaging collective intelligence to deliver results across organisational boundaries… It’s grounded in a belief that all of us together can be smarter, more creative, and more competent than any of us alone, especially when it comes to addressing the kinds of novel, complex, and multi-faceted problems that organisations face today.”


Collaborative leadership thus, gathers a team of diverse stakeholders from the school (such as school board members, staff, teachers, etc). These stakeholders have the role to collaborate in adopting and communicating clear goals for Future Ready teaching, leading, and learning in the school. 


Personalized Student Learning

Personalized Student Learning is one of our main focus areas at Spark. Students in a future-ready school should have the chance to create their own learning journeys. When it comes to teaching staff and leadership, they should also focus their energy on creating tailored educational experiences for their students. 


We can also mention the topic of Flexible Teaching here – which we’ve also talked about previously in our blog posts. Flexible teaching involves tailoring one’s teaching to each student’s personal goals and needs. However, this is not about changing the subjects to fit the students. It’s about changing how we teach those subjects to each student, depending on their learning needs and wants from that subject.


Access to technology

We could define Access to technology as access to next-generation bandwidth, wireless, hardware, and devices. This access is usually managed by support personnel for reliable use—both inside and outside of the school.


As the future relies more and more on technology, future readiness can’t be talked about without mentioning the use of technology. In a school that’s aiming to become future-ready, it should be assured that everyone is equipped with up-to-date devices and are able to use them to their full potential. 


All digital devices from the school should be equipped with the proper software, hardware, and Internet connectivity that enables Future Ready teaching, leading, and learning on a daily basis.


In the case of hybrid or online schools, access to technology also means providing students with every digital resource they need in their educational journey. The school usually provides access to all textbooks online, as well as different software and platforms that will help the students gain future-ready skills by the time of graduation.


Ongoing Professional Learning

Ongoing, job-embedded, and relevant professional learning to assist teachers, administrators, and support personnel in keeping up with the digital transition of a school and not only.


If we want to develop a future-ready school, what better means to do so than keeping our leadership and staff up to date with everything happening around them? Learning should be a continuous process no matter what age we are – even though we teach at school, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing else to learn for us anymore.


Future-ready teachers and staff need to be provided with opportunities to continue developing themselves, on a professional and personal level as well. For the goal of becoming future-ready, the school staff and teachers should be constantly receiving training sessions and opportunities to participate in workshops or other relevant events to their development. 


Becoming a future-ready leader for your school 

Becoming a future-ready leader is not as easy as it sounds. There isn’t a definitive checklist that someone can check and once they’ve got it all, they are future-ready. No. Future-ready contains the word future, which we usually can associate with the unknown, or sense of surprise. As no one knows what the future can bring.


For example, Covid-19 brought along lots of changes. Some of them significantly shifting the way we’ve been doing things so far. Just like that, a future-ready leader never stops learning how to lead or how to become better at leading. 


It’s an ongoing process of adopting new ways of thinking and implementing things, but we will also provide you with some hands-on examples to be able to understand what a future-ready leader should look like for a school. 



Before diving into implementing future-ready strategies, the school leadership should go through an extensive phase of self-discovery. This is to see what areas they need to work on. 


There are tools that can help measure the future readiness of individual leaders or institutions, and these should be the starting point for anyone with the goal of becoming future-ready. 


Another important thing for future-ready leaders is to value Organizational impact rather than personal recognition. 


Traditional leaders who become successful often tend to be tempted of taking credit for their institution’s and students’ merits. A good leader knows that success should be shared, and recognizes everyone’s efforts in creating a thriving school environment. 



Collaboration In Place Of Command And Control

Staff and teachers are more ready to collaborate when they feel like they are working with a partner, not a superior. Even though command and control used to be the norm back in the day, nowadays we have evolved as human beings and we know what emotional intelligence means. 


The same thing can also be applied to students. Authoritative teachers who would punish students for bad behaviour cannot be part of a future-ready school. Future-ready teachers have the knowledge and resources to positively solve conflicts. More than that, they try to educate their students instead of disciplining or shaming them. Oftentimes, there is a personal issue that’s causing students to behave in a certain way. In these cases, they should be helped, not pushed away.


Experimentation Over Simple Solutions

A future-ready leader is flexible – as we’ve learned already. They don’t make decisions based on tradition or their gut, but instead, they choose based on facts. They are not afraid to test and fail. After all, their end goal is to best equip students in their institution with future-ready skills and they are willing to try new things in order to achieve that. 


Overall, future readiness will never be a fixed thing that we can learn from a book. Leaders need to experiment and do their best to stay up to date with new practices and learnings. All their goals should be aligned with one big mission: to best prepare their students for their future careers, and offer them support to graduate as healthy and happy individuals. 


How future-ready is your school’s leadership? Take one of the self-discovery tests and start making changes towards becoming a future-ready school, today!


Future-ready leadership FAQ

What makes a school leader future-ready?

 A school leader is future-ready when they are flexible, goal-oriented, collaborative, and open to trying new things. There isn’t necessarily a set list of criteria they have to meet, but they need to be constantly learning and adapting to the changes that could be beneficial to their institution and students.


How do you become a future-ready leader?

You become a future-ready leader by exercising flexibility, being humble and active in your team. As a future-ready leader, you also have to listen to all the voices in your community and start adapting to different needs implementing new techniques that make your institution a safe place for everyone. 


How do you prepare for future leadership?

We can prepare for future leadership by staying up to date with everything that is happening around us and getting constantly informed. Feedback is a great way to evaluate one’s leadership and learnings are the best way to evolve.