“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

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