Innovative leadership forum

White water ride

Covid-19 and school leadership in disruptive times

Richard Gaskell invites us to pause, take stock and listen to each other as we prepare to take on the next section of the Covid white-water ride.

Fast flowing river

I seem to have spent my professional life talking and thinking about change in international education. How can change be tracked? How can it be predicted? How can schools plan the changes they want and manage other forces of change to which they are subjected?

We have all been living through a period of significant change in the first 20 years of the 21st Century. Just look at any episode of Friends which aired 1994 – 2004 to see how far we have come so quickly. It’s a different world. They still used landlines. No smartphones at all.

By any standard, change in the last 20 years has been a fast-flowing river that has needed effective navigation, but with thought, guidance and good back-up, this was more than possible. There was a degree of comfort.


And now the pandemic has hit. The banks of the river have narrowed and we have all hit serious white water. As we adapted, there has been a growing feeling that we are all on a massive learning curve, not only glimpsing, but experiencing the future, without, quite, being able to make sense of it all. We left any comfort zones we had a year ago.

There is doubtless more of the white stuff to come, but there is also a sense that after the first set of rapids it is time to take our bearings and find out where we seem to find ourselves as we catch our breath. Mapping long term trends is hardly possible just yet.  We are still in the canyon, but perhaps in a quieter stretch.

covid calm


This might, therefore, be a time to compare notes, talk and listen to each other as we gear up for the next part of the adventure. For school leaders, what are the business and educational models that are most likely to get us through the next stretch of churning waters? What are the pundits and commentators saying? What are teachers experiencing? What is the feeling among parents? What have we learned from the great online learning experiment? Most important, how are the students doing?

Three themes

Structuring the conversation will be important, and we think that there are three important themes to be considered:

1.  Adaptability

Here the conversation will revolve around the ideas of agility, responsiveness and consistency in times of uncertainty.

2. Connection

This theme might cover the engagement of parents, students and staff as everyone reconnects and begins to settle.

3.  Individualisation

We think individualised experiences in schools are going to grow in importance in all parts of the community, and a discussion on the topic is therefore more than timely. Covid and online learning have acted as a catalyst, and brought the Holy Grail of effective personalised learning much closer.

Join us for the discussion

IESEventful Learning Co. and Schoolbox have teamed up to deliver a 3-Part series for educational leaders on these topics, inviting people to hit the ‘pause and reflect’ button, listen to some great panelists and to learn from each other.

These will be interactive sessions as well as an opportunity to hear from leading voices in education and business who will share strategies for moving schools forward in a positive way.

The 3-Part Series comprises the following sessions:

Adaptability (March 2)

When: 02 March
Time: 19:00 – 19:45 SGT

Jenny Lewis

Jenny Lewis
Executive Director of Jenny Lewis and Associates, Jenny is an experienced international consultant in education systems across the world, with a focus on sustainable practices that cultivate flourishing school environments.

Richard Gaskell

Richard Gaskell

Founder and CEO of International Education Solutions (IES), Richard has been working with international schools for over 30 years and a is leading consultant to the sector.

Connection (March 9)

When: 09 March
Time: 19:00 – 19:45 SGT

Jabiz RaizdanaJabiz Raizdana
Jabiz has been teaching English at UWCSEA since 2012, and is fascinated by communication using a variety of new media. He is the author of several books, including Twitter: a Cultural Guidebook, with Keri-Lee Beasley.

Daniel SilmanDaniel Silman
Daniel has been an independent Global Business Consultant specialising in education since 2017, having previously been the international marketing manager at the University of Kent for nine years.

Individualisation (March 16)

When: 16 March
Time: 19:00 – 19:45 SGT

Summer HowarthSummer Howarth
Summer is the Learning Experience Designer at the Eventful Learning Co., which she founded in 2018. A finalist in the Melbourne Young Entrepreneur of the Year, she works with schools to maximise the potential of all staff.

Andy EdwardsAndy Edwards

Andy is the Founder and CEO of GeoSnapShot and has an outstanding track record of leading and growing organisations in the media & technology space.

Please do join us!



Richard GaskellRichard Gaskell is the Co-Founder and CEO at International Education Solutions (IES).





Feature image: by malohan from Pixabay

Support image: by Luisao Pepe from Pixabay

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