Skip to main content Skip to footer

Dave Harris

Leadership - Transition - Curiosity and Wonder

Ever had that niggling feeling that the concept of the ‘hero head’ approach to school leadership does more harm than good to all concerned - including the headteacher in question? If so, then experienced school leader and international educator Dave Harris has a message for you.

You’re right.

A successful headteacher with many years’ experience working in and leading schools in challenging socio-economic environments, Dave has built a second career for himself as an in-demand speaker and advisor shining a light on the various forms of madness being visited on schools today in the name of standards.

What Dave does best is cut through the rubbish that seems to get in the way of allowing school leaders and their colleagues to see what the job in hand genuinely is. Combining hard-won wisdom with experience of schools, school people and school systems across the UK and further afield too, Dave helps educators refocus on what the job is really all about whilst sharing ideas and strategies that will help them not so much get back to basics as rediscover their purpose and apply it in a new and creative ways.

Recent titles include:

  • Brave Leadership in Challenging Times
  • The Many Rewards of Plaiting Fog!
  • The Power of Curiosity and Wonder Across all Phases of Education

For many years now, Dave has been reassuring all of us at Independent Thinking as well as the teachers and school leaders with whom he works on a regular basis including long-term projects in Spain, Slovenia and across the Isle of Man, that education is a pendulum and that pendulum is swinging.

Beating the drum loudly for our unofficial motto that ‘There is always another other way’, Dave shows that teaching, learning and leadership can all be approached in a way that is more humane, creative and values-driven if we genuinely decide that is what we want education to be like.

And he reassures school leaders that, while the job is complex, getting the basics right needn’t be complicated.

Dave’s first book, Are We Dropping the Baton, addressed an issue that still beleaguers schools today – getting transition right. Passionate about the through-school model, one of Dave’s headships involved bringing together an infant school, a junior school and a secondary school geographically split across a socio-economically deprived former mining community. In his own words, ‘A school is not the building’ and Dave has a great talent for bringing staff together to work for a common vision.

His second book, Brave Heads, reinforced his approach to leadership combining creativity and values with a willingness to experiment and fly in the face of received wisdom. In recent years he has collaborated on two volumes of Leadership Dialogues with renowned leadership academic, the late Professor John West-Burnham. These books embody Dave’s approach to working with school leadership teams - that he is not there to tell anyone what to do but to help them see through the fog and identify for themselves what it is that needs doing in the right way and for the right reasons.

If you are looking for an engaging and challenging speaker who combines common sense with those so important ‘a-ha’ moments that we all need to keep ourselves fresh in our work, then Dave Harris is the speaker you are looking for. Check out his work on the power of curiosity and wonder for learning too and ask about his 'Curiosity Table', always a hit at conferences and events.

"There has been so much positive feedback about your session - many, many thanks! It has kicked the start of the year off in a truly positive way and hopefully given many staff the courage to be a little braver"

"The response to the presentation was unanimously favourable and I think you may be able to form a fan club in this area!"

"Dave Harris was amazingly inspiring. Feedback from the delegates is absolutely positive, so we are looking forward to future cooperation"

"Thank you very much for a really motivating presentation with lots of takeaways"

"Very interesting – lots of info peppered with humour, good to listen to"

"I’ve heard so much positive feedback from staff regarding the presentations, the ideas and the delivery of your wonder-based experience.. This is exactly the impact I was hoping for."

"We found the process very supportive and enlightening, and we particularly liked the session this afternoon where you talked us through the various tools that you have used to draw your conclusions"

Enjoy a free consultation. Make a booking.
Haggle a bit. All acceptable.

Give us a call on +44 (0)1267 211432 or drop us a line at

We promise to get back to you reassuringly quickly. 

Let's assume you're happy to receive cookies from this website