Moving on from Headship: Where do you start?

Many of us with careers in education came into the work expecting we’d always be in teaching or education leadership. Our passion for teaching and learning, alongside the knowledge that good education changes lives for the better, are compelling reasons to stay.

Our careers are deeply personal. They’re not only a means to economic stability, they are an expression of who we are, what we care about and the contribution we want to make to the world.

Sometimes, the anchor that keeps us in a profession no longer fulfilling us is our uncertainty about where life could lead us next. The fear of exploring uncharted territory can keep us from moving on.

The field of education is often referred to as a lifelong vocation rather than a profession, but recent figures suggest many school leaders leave the profession within the first 5 years, citing wages that do not reward or reflect the weight of the responsibility, combined with increasing workloads.

Data from teaching unions indicates an exodus growing in momentum, causing 21 per cent of school leaders to leave the profession on account of pay constraints, inflation and the impact on wellbeing.

So, what next after headship?

School leaders have an abundance of transferable skills, whether they choose to remain in education, or cast the net wider and explore a different sector. Some avenues explored by headteachers moving careers are:

  • Establishing their own businesses or becoming an EdTech CEO
  • Education consultancy for school improvement
  • The civil service
  • Academic work – university lecturer/leading initial teacher training
  • The voluntary sector (see
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The Beyond Headship Programme

Some questions I see and hear headteachers wanting to make a career move include:

  • Is it possible to leave headship and maintain your salary?
  • What if I still want to make a contribution to children and young people, but want to move on from headship?
  • How can you make a significant contribution, while maintaining the life you want?
  • What can headteachers leaving the profession do next?
  • How do you find what’s right for you?

There is of course some work to do before deciding which direction to take. The Art of Possibility by Benjamin and Rosamund Zander explores the notion of keeping an open door in the back of your mind for opportunities and life-changing experiences by adopting an abundance mentality and mindset – a book whose message marries well with the exploration of new career ventures.

The Beyond Headship Programme leads participants through a design thinking process towards a new working life. It’s here to help you plan your career transition, equipping you with your own tailored solution and a bespoke, step-by-step plan.

During the programme, together we’ll:

  • Discover your WHY – what energises you, brings you hope and enables you to be wholehearted
  • Define a new and preferred future for the next stage of your life and career journey
  • Design a realistic action plan towards a new future

The Beyond Headship Programme was developed for headteachers and school leaders, potentially like you, ready to explore new ideas and possibilities, seeking their paths to a new future.

To find out more you can register for the Beyond Headship Programme here:

We hope to see you on the programme soon!