Campbell and Corporal Spencer training our cadets

I often think that I’m telling the same stories. I used to worry about it, until I realised that it is my job at King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes to keep telling the same story.  Stories are powerful things. They become the narratives that drive the school, its values and its key habits. If we get the stories right, people start to do amazing things.

I remember doing an assembly in the first year of our adoption of the Aspire Code about professionalism. I told the story of my dad and how he learned to polish his shoes in the Royal Navy.


Today, I spoke to Flight Officer Richard Walsh, our Personal Development Officer, about the promotion of Campbell James in Year 10 to the role of Lead Cadet for next year. Campbell is a young man I know well. Campbell was positively glowing with pride in himself at his promotion in the best of ways. He recounted how he took care of his kit and shoes particularly and his very specific method of polishing his shoes.

In the afternoon, I observed Campbell and Corporal Spencer (our ex-Headboy from two years ago) deliver a theory session to a large number of Cadets. Niall was immaculate. What an incredible role model for our younger students. The idea that ex-students return to teach and give back to the school bears witness to the whole mission of the school and The Great Schools Trust.

I often talk about the Royal Marines and the CCF and the huge support they have given our school. I remember Lieutenant Colonels Churchward and Simmons telling their stories at our prize nights. The sea and the Navy are part of this city’s history and culture: it’s woven into us, whether we know it or not.

The best institutions make connections between people and generations. They develop a lingua-franca of stories and phrases, a legacy of routines and rituals, myths and legends even. It’s a form of family.  This is what we provide for our students at King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes; a place to thrive and grow into successful role models for our future generations of students.

July 8, 2021

Principal’s Blog – Shoes and Student Leadership

I often think that I’m telling the same stories. I used to worry about it, until I realised that it is my job at King’s Leadership […]
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