There is an Eagle in our school - a new book from the TEN Group

Chris Hassell is an educational consultant currently employed by Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN). A highly experienced leader, who holds a Manchester University Master of Education degree in the Organisation and Planning of Education, he was headteacher and principal of Reepham High School and College in Norfolk through fifteen years of growth and development. Under his leadership Reepham developed from being an 11-16 school into an 11-18 institution. In the course of doing so it received three successive outstanding inspection reports from Ofsted.

As an agent of change and improvement, Chris has served as a Local Authority advisory teacher of English and ICT, a Local Authority consultant headteacher, a School Improvement Partner and an Ofsted Team Inspector. He has mentored headteachers, provided In Service Training (INSET) in many schools and for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT). Reepham became an SSAT Centre of Leadership and Innovation for the East of England.

Chris firmly believes that schools need to be outward looking and at the centre of their community. He has deep rooted commitments to internationalism in education and community education.

His achievements were recognised when he was awarded the Ted Wragg Lifetime Achievement Award by the Pearson Teaching Awards in 2011.

In "There is an Eagle in our school" Chris presents a model of leadership designed to cultivate a school ethos that maximises the input and impact of the headteacher and all members of the school community. It explores how all aspects of school life are interrelated and how all school systems must be harmonised if success on a broad front is to be achieved and then sustained.

Dick Palmer, Group Chief Executive Offcer of the TEN Group recalls:

"When I first came to Norfolk as Principal of Norwich City College I took the opportunity to visit all the secondary schools that sent their students to us and there were many for we were the largest further education college in the East of England.

As part of this extended tour I went to Reepham High School which is situated twelve miles to the north west of Norwich. I had been briefed that Reepham was a very good school and that its head was a man of drive and ambition but I was not quite prepared for what I discovered.

Chris Hassell and I toured the school together for well over an hour going into classrooms, talking to students and staff. To say I was impressed by what I saw would be an understatement. It was a joy. Of all the state schools I visited it was the only one that I would have been happy for my children to go to.

After we had finished our tour we went back to the head’s office and when Chris went to order us some coffee I picked up a handwritten poem that was on the coffee table. It was a remarkable poem that had been written by a year 7 boy and I have remembered it.

There is an eagle in our school
It comes into assembly every day
It is perched above us
Its eyes are bright, its talons are sharp
It looks around
It sees everything
It sees me
It stretches its wings
Then folds them around us to protect its young

It is our headteacher

"I loved the poem. It said much about the school and its head. Of course, Reepham went from strength to strength: it became an 11- 18 school with a purpose built sixth form college, it gained three consecutive outstanding Ofsteds, commanded three specialisms, was SSAT regional centre for leadership and innovation, was a year on year British Council International School award holder and the list goes on… so when I had the opportunity to encourage Chris to write about leadership I grasped it. Having read his book I am delighted that I did so. I requested Chris retitle it ‘There is an Eagle in our School’. It is a far reaching insight into school leadership and has relevance to management in other sectors."

You can order your copy of "There is an Eagle in our school" here.