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Vic Goddard

Leadership - Community - Team Building

There can’t be many people left in the UK who haven’t heard of head teacher and Independent Thinking Associate Vic Goddard.

He came into public view several years ago through Educating Essex, a fly-on-the-wall documentary filmed in the Harlow secondary school he leads and capturing the ups and downs, tears and laughter of typical school life.

It was a seminal and highly popular TV programme that spawned several spin-off series, not to mention a great deal of publicity in the national press, a highlight of which was being referred to as ‘the worst headteacher in the country’ by the Daily Mail, a rag that never lets the facts get in the way of its prejudices. 

Thrust into the limelight, Vic became a national figure and is still a regular visitor to various breakfast TV sofas to talk about the latest government policies or educational issues of the day, as well as a founding member of the Headteacher’s Roundtable pressure group.

He also found time to write a book for the Independent Thinking Press entitled The Best Job in the World, a title he only occasionally regrets as he goes about doing such an inspirational leadership role, despite the immense pressures of Ofsted, underfunding and the relentless pressure to achieve ever-better exam results.

Since that time, Vic has become one of our most in-demand speakers when it comes to sharing his views, his approaches and his wisdom on school leadership generally but also on what it takes to lead a school in what is a challenging socioeconomic area with vulnerable children and families. 

Recent titles include:

  • What is the most personal, is also the most universal
  • The best job in the world - no, really!
  • How we ensure that our leadership is about what matters?

Vic's popularity is not simply because of his reputation and TV ‘fame’, nor because he is a very, very good speaker combining honesty, integrity, warmth, passion and humour in equal measure. It is because he embodies all that is positive and uplifting as a school leader, very much leading from the front, leading with his heart on his sleeve and inspiring children, staff and the wider school community as a whole.

At a time when we are hearing too often of Academy chains that are coming up short when it comes to their behaviour, ethics and actions, Vic proves that you can still lead with integrity and openness and be both a school leader and a human being at the same time. He’s a ‘hero head’ to many, but not in that Clint Eastwood way that does so much harm all round.

It’s an approach that is hugely demanding personally and professionally but - and we don’t say this very often – it’s the only way.

For a great speaker on all things related to leadership, school life and doing things the way they should be done and a man very much still on the front line of school life, the only way is Vic.


Really made our conference fizz! Vic gave us a humble, humorous and very real account of his time at Passmores which chimed well with our Headteacher delegates

Truly inspirational. His understanding of actual teaching, mixed with his video from Taylor Mali was actually stunning and probably the best 30 minutes of any staff conference that I have been to

I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your presentation. It was very uplifting

This was an excellent way to close our conference, feedback was very positive.

A lovely, funny man with a great deal of knowledge. The heads loved him

Vic Goddard In His Own Words


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