Course outline

Learn what you really need to know about headship (the skills the NPQ can't teach you!), from those who've been there and done it. Led by experienced headteachers and leadership experts, this deeply practical and interactive course will give you the know-how to lead and develop your team with the confidence that usually only comes from decades of experience in the job.

Class 1

Thursday 6 June
4pm to 5.30pm, on Zoom

With Matt Dechaine

How to lead your team

Learn how to:

  • Inspire, motivate and enable those you work with
  • Grow leadership behaviours within your team, and support your leaders to lead
  • Give effective feedback to drive school improvement
  • Tackle challenging conversations with confidence

Class 2

Thursday 27 June
4pm to 5.30pm, on Zoom

With Kate Smith

How to develop yourself and others

Learn how to:

  • Deal with imposter syndrome and ‘the abyss of self-doubt’
  • Plan and structure work to maximise impact
  • Create supportive systems with effective boundaries
  • Make the space to switch off (and then start afresh)

Your expert course trainers

Matt Dechaine

Matt Dechaine is an experienced primary headteacher, who has led in schools around the world – from Kent to Gujarat, India. He now works as a qualified leadership and executive coach with headteachers, executive headteachers, CEOs and leadership teams. He supports leaders through coaching and runs leadership training.

Matt is also a chair of governors in Whitstable where he lives with his husband and dog. You can connect with him on X (formerly Twitter) at @mattdechaine.

Kate Smith

Kate Smith is an experienced headteacher who now leads HeadsUp4HTs, a national organisation that supports leaders with safe spaces, coaching and events.

Kate is an ICF-accredited coach (ACC) and a Resilient Leaders Elements consultant. She lives in Gloucestershire with her 2 daughters. You can find her on X (formerly Twitter) at @MrsKatieSmith.

Who can attend

This course is for you if you’re:

  • Feeling new to headship
  • Preparing for a new headship role
  • Aspiring to headship any time soon

This course caters for leaders in all phases and settings.

This course is exclusively available to The Key's Whole School members. If you're not yet a Whole School member,
find out more here.

More reasons to love this course

Active learning, not passive instruction

Your live classes won't just be lectures. Matt and Kate will engage the class, invite discussion, prompt breakout activities and leave plenty of room for Q&A. You'll learn by doing, with practical tasks between classes and regular feedback from the trainers and your class colleagues.

Learn with a cohort
of peers 

Learning virtually doesn't mean learning solo. This course is designed to be rich in energising interaction between you and your colleagues - it's your safe space to ask questions and seek peer feedback, and make connections for life. 

Develop your own menu of practical strategies that work

Apply what you learn straight away, with practical strategies drawn from expert advice and excellent practice. Adopt the best of what works, for immediate change and lasting impact in your school.

Earn a certificate of achievement

Complete your classes and get a certificate of achievement from The Key for your learning record.

What other participants have said about our courses

“I now know what steps
to take to be an
effective leader"


“This course gave me confidence, opportunities to share good practice, and up-to-date research”

"The tasks were very practical and a brilliant way to
secure that knowledge"


Frequently asked questions

Live classes are held on Zoom, and you’ll collaborate on practical tasks with small groups of colleagues in breakout rooms. You’ll have practical tasks to complete independently between your two classes, and 24/7 access to your own online course community forum.

Ideally, yes! Working together with your colleagues is where much of the magic happens, and you’ll have opportunities to ask Matt and Kate questions directly. But we know that some school days run away, so you’ll be able to catch up on-demand if you have to miss a class. We’ll let you know when the class recording is available.

Deeply practical tasks. They’ll help you put learning into practice immediately and get ahead on work you need to complete in your day-to-day role. You might work with colleagues on a task, and get supportive feedback.

Yes! This course was built for full-time school leaders. You'll attend two 90-minute classes in June, after school at 4pm. Outside of that, expect practical tasks to complete at any point ahead of the next class, and an on-tap peer community to engage with as you like. All your practical tasks will directly relate to your day job - they’ll never take you more than an hour.

Yes! You’ll get a certificate on completion of the course.

Just email any questions to We’ll get back to you within 2 working days.

These courses are included as part of The Key's Whole School membership and places are exclusively available to those members. 
If you're not yet a Whole School member, find out more here.