Challenge and support: finding the balance

Get clarity on how to hold school leaders to account while supporting them to reach their targets, and see how this works in practice.

Last reviewed on 18 July 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 35104
  1. Challenge and support: what it means
  2. How to challenge
  3. How to support
  4. Get the balance right: example
  5. Nail your questions: example
  6. Discover more questions you can ask

Our associate expert Keith Clover, a national leader of governance, helped us write this article.

Challenge and support: what it means

Challenge and support are intertwined. It’s about pushing for improvement and setting aspirational targets, and then supporting leaders to achieve them.

In a nutshell you'll:

  • Challenge your school leaders by asking hard questions to hold them to account. This is a key part of your role, and your leaders will be expecting it
    • But you should challenge them on what they’re doing in their role, rather than them as individuals – don’t make it personal
  • Support your leaders by asking what the problems are and what they need to succeed, then really listen to them and do all you can to get that support in place

How to challenge

What you want to know Why you need to know it What you want