Russell Hobby and Jon Noble
Teach First Chief Executive, IG Group Chief Operating Officer

Why supporting school leadership is good for business

Teach First Chief Executive, Russell Hobby, and IG Group Chief Operating Officer, Jon Noble, explore the links between school and business leadership.


At first glance, school and business leadership are worlds apart. But the truth is, they have plenty in common.

The ability to build a team, communicate a clear vision and foster a positive culture are universal attributes of any leader.

School leaders manage significant budgets and even larger responsibilities. They deal with demanding customers and fierce regulatory scrutiny.

This means the two groups can learn a lot from each other.

School leaders have a lot to offer on learning cultures and professional development.

Business leaders can play a crucial role in supporting often overworked and under-resourced school leaders.

Together, this paves the way for a brighter future for education.

We’ve witnessed this transformative power first hand over the last three years with the invaluable support of IG Group, one of our visionary corporate partners.

Their £2 million investment in 2020 focused on our Leading Together programme, supporting the entire leadership team in 30 schools in low-income communities across the country.

IG Group’s unwavering commitment has highlighted the critical importance of nurturing leadership in both schools and businesses.

A testimony of success


We first started working with Teach First in 2019. Our shared values and commitment to inclusion, equality and education are an essential starting point for any partnership of this nature.

We were also drawn to the charity because of their impressive record of success – particularly in London.

But the real key to the success of our partnership over the past four years has been how we’ve developed a shared understanding of what ‘leadership’ means, and why it plays such a crucial role in education and in business.

In 2022, I was lucky enough to visit Coppice Performing Arts School – a Teach First partner school in Wolverhampton – along with other members of our executive committee and board.

Throughout the day we witnessed many examples of excellent leadership.

Coppice had managed to create a safe place for innovation. They had set and lived by a clear set of values.

And they had the confidence to try and fail, and to learn from these experiences.

It was clear that the students were absolutely thriving. I reflected on how these conditions for success have been integral to all we’ve achieved at IG Group and set us up for sustained success for years to come.

Echoes from the frontline – words from headteachers


Headteachers have been vocal about the impact of Leading Together and IG Group’s support.

They’ve praised the partnership for bringing fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to their work.

One such headteacher, Cath Smith, Principal of The John Roan School, told us: 

“Through its funding of the Leading Together Programme, IG Group has ensured that the life chances of our students have been significantly improved.

“We now have fabulous teachers in every classroom. They teach their subject specialisms with the passion and deep knowledge that every child deserves.

“We are an ambitious learning community where staff are keen to develop and students keen to learn.

“This is a huge change from the school of 2018 and has been possible, in part, because of the additional support that the programme has provided to the development and strengthening of the school leadership.”

With IG Group’s involvement, schools have implemented groundbreaking leadership programmes. They’ve opened doors for aspiring leaders and nurtured talent.

There’s a huge benefit to businesses supporting school leadership teams. The gains flow both ways.

Schools can offer businesses connection to a joyful, purpose-driven environment that really inspires colleagues.

Businesses can bring the world of work to life and inspire everyone in school to realise their potential.

Embracing the future


The future continues to look bright as we celebrate the renewal of our partnership with IG Group. With their continued support, we will extend our reach to new leaders and communities.

IG Group’s dedication to innovation and development aligns perfectly with our mission to help every child fulfil their potential, creating a more equitable society. Together, we can drive positive change and create a lasting impact on school and business communities alike.

To all businesses looking to make a meaningful difference, we invite you to explore how your organisation can support our schools and their leadership teams.

Together, we can nurture the leaders of tomorrow and transform the education landscape for generations to come.

Find out how your business can support our schools and their leadership teams.

Find out more about IG Group’s community work.

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