SSAT: Presentation on leading and decision making amidst a pandemic

An online keynote to the Leading-Edge Conference

Leadership behaviours

We started with a story about Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand, as a leader who wished to be ‘an antidote to uncertainty and anxiety.’ Along the way we tried to extrapolate learning from leader behaviours in lockdown: the inclusive Finnish cabinet, the champion in Marcus Rashford, how to deal with a ‘wall’ from Professor Aisha Ahmad, choice architecture from the Nudge Unit and Inexpert Leadership from Steve Munby.


Decision-making is something every school leader does but rarely attends to after the event. Organisations such as the London Air Ambulance, The Trauma Unit at Imperial College Hospital London and the London Fire Brigade all place great emphasis on different kinds of debrief and the use of a decision-making model to reduce cognitive overload. Every decision is pored over. 

Learning behaviours

As part of the presentation, we polled the 200 or so participants on each topic. For learning we asked which of these had been the learning success since March 2020? 

  1. Task Design 
  2. Identifying learning ‘gaps’ 
  3. Questioning techniques 
  4. Teacher modelling 
  5. Student response 
  6. Feedback and Marking 
  7. Use of Technology 
  8. Independent learning 

The responses showed that accessing technology and identifying and adjusting to ‘gaps’ had been amongst the biggest challenges.

Lots of material to bite on here!