Leaders are Readers podcast

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers” (Harry Truman)

As part of our continuing ASCL Bookshelf series, Geoff Barton talks to people in various leadership roles about the books that have most influenced them, whether fiction, poetry or non-fiction.

April 2024

In this episode, Anne Longfield, Executive Chair of the Centre for Young Lives, talks with Geoff Barton about her forthcoming book, 'Young Lives: Big Ambitions (published on 18 April).

In our latest ASCL podcast, General Secretary Geoff Barton talks to Ellie Costello from Square Peg about attendance, compassionate schools, bold leadership, and her book, written with Fran Morgan, 'Square Pegs: Inclusivity, Compassion and Fitting In'.

In this edition, ASCL Geoff Barton talks to former headteacher and Chair for the National Association for Pastoral Care in Education, Phil Jones, about an important new book: 'Pastoral Care in Education: New Directions for New Times'.

December 2023
Geoff Barton talks to Professor of Social Mobility, Lee Elliot Major, about his new book (written with Emily Briant): 'Equity in Education: Levelling the playing field of learning - a practical guide for teachers'

In this edition of the ASCL 'Leaders are Readers' podcast, Geoff Barton talks to Rachel Johnson, CEO of PiXL, about her new book, 'Time to Think: The Things that Stop Us and How to Deal with Them'

In this edition of the ASCL 'Leaders are Readers' podcast, Geoff Barton talks to Neil Renton, Headteacher of Harrogate Grammar School, about his book about the journey of stepping into headship: 'New School Leader: What Now?: Simple lessons to navigate doubt, embrace challenge and lead well every day'

June 2023

In this episode, Geoff Barton talks to Art teacher and former winner of the Global Teacher Award, Andria Zafirakou, about her new book 'Lessons in Life: What we can learn from the world's best teachers'. 

January 2023

In this episode, Geoff Barton talks to PiXL CEO Rachel Johnson about her love of reading - why she reads, what she reads, how and when she finds time to read.

December 2022

In this episode, Geoff Barton talks to the NEU's Mary Bousted about her book on teacher recruitment & retention, 'Support, not Surveillance'

'Huh: Curriculum Conversations Between Subject & Senior Leaders'
Mary Myatt and John Tomsett talk about their new book with ASCL General Secretary, Geoff Barton

'About Our Schools: Improving on Previous Best'
Tim Brighouse and Mick Waters talk about their new book with ASCL General Secretary, Geoff Barton

'Must Do Better: How to Improve the Image of Teaching and Why It Matters'
Harry Hudson talks about his new book (co-author, Roy Blatchford) with ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton

'The Juggling Act: How to Juggle Leadership & Life' (co-written with Laura McInerney)
Professor Toby Salt discusses his new book with ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton

November 2021

'Cracking Social Mobility'

Author Tom Moule talks to ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton about how artificial intelligence and other innovations can help to level the playing field in education.

November 2021

'Let That Be a Lesson'

Author and former teacher Ryan Wilson talks to ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton about his book 'Let That Be a Lesson" - a love-letter to the teaching profession.

Catharine Darnton
Headteacher, Gillotts School, Henley On Thames, & ASCL Council member

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Hart & Kuchermann, Children’s Understanding of Mathematics, 11-16
  • Maggie O’Farrell, Hamnet

Chris Hildrew
Headteacher, Churchill Academy & Sixth Form and ASCL Council member

  • Mindset by Dr Carol S Dweck
  • Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath
  • Oh, the places you’ll go! By Dr Seuss

Christian Markham
ASCL Regional Officer, West Midlands

  • Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Jim Lovell, Lost Moon
  • Stephen Fry, Mythos

Donna Stephens,
CEO, Girls’ Schools Association

  • Jon Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath
  • Dave Eggers, What is the What
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt
  • Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Gurpall Bedesha
Deputy Headteacher & ASCL Council member

  • Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, & Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain
  • Bram Stoker, Dracula
  • Bill Bryson, The Body

Martyn Beer
Deputy Head, Bootham School, York, and ASCL Council member

  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
  • Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Julie McCulloch
ASCL Director of Policy

  • Lionel Shriver, The Mandibles
  • John Higgs, Stranger than We Can Imagine
  • Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level

Caroline Lowing
Deputy Headteacher Harrow Way Community School

  • The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
  • Why Don't Students Like School? by Daniel Willingham.

Jim Thewlis
General Secretary, School Leaders Scotland

  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck 
  • More than Feelings of Concern-Guidance and Scottish Secondary Schools: Published by Consultative Committee on the Curriculum 1986
  • Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black

Jo Marchant
Strategic Business Leader, Nexus Foundation Special School, and ASCL Council member

  • The Working Woman's Handbook by Phoebe Lovatt
  • The School Business Manager's Handbook by Hayley Dunn
  • Humanocracy by Gary Hamel & Michele Zanini

Neil Wallace
Headteacher, Stratford School, and ASCL Council Member

  • One Way Ticket; Nine lives on two wheels, Jonathan Vaughters (2019)
  • Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld (2020)
  • V2, Robert Harris (2020)
  • Memoirs, Mikhail Gorbachev (1995)

Pepe Di’lasio
Headteacher, Wales High School, Rotherham, and ASCL Vice President

  • Lemn Sissay, My Name Is Why

Rachel Bertenshaw
ASCL Deputy Director of Member Support

  • The Faber Book of Children’s verse
  • Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and her Children
  • Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl

Russell Clarke
Deputy Headteacher, Haslingden High School and ASCL Council member

  • A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
  • Traceless, by Geoff Cox and Heather Dawe

Sara Ford
ASCL Deputy Director of Policy

  • Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text
  • George Orwell, Animal Farm
  • AA Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Stephen Moore
Principal, Friends School, Lisburn and President of ASCL Northern Ireland

  • Daniel Willingham, Why Children Don’t Like School
  • Thomas Erikson, Surrounded by Idiots
  • Iain McGilchrist, The Master and his Emissary
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Tanya Douglas
Interim Headteacher, Chase High School, and ASCL Council member

  • Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Alice Walker, The Colour Purple
  • Bernadine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other

Tiffnie Harris
ASCL Primary Specialist

  • J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
  • Jim Lawless, Taming Tigers
  • Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog