Liminal Leadership: Building bridges across the chaos... because we're standing on the edge

More Views

Liminal Leadership: Building bridges across the chaos... because we're standing on the edge

In stock

Be the first to review this product



Stephen Tierney has spent thirty years working in schools, twenty nine of those in different leadership positions. In Liminal Leadership, he suggests that the education system is currently at a threshold; and it may be one in which the teaching profession is diminished or augmented.


Stephen Tierney has spent thirty years working in schools, twenty nine of those in different leadership positions. In Liminal Leadership, he suggests that the education system is currently at a threshold; and it may be one in which the teaching profession is diminished or augmented.
Using an honest and personal account of Stephen's own journey as a framework, Liminal Leadership empowers current and prospective school leaders at all levels to scrutinise, polish and advance their skills to build enriching, aspirational and ultimately fulfilling cultures within which to work.
Includes images by renowned cartoonist Stan.
About the author

Stephen Tierney is Executive Director of the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust, a trust containing three academies in Blackpool. He acts as the Course Leader for the SSAT's Aspiring Senior Leaders Programme and Co-chair of their Vision 2040 Group.

As a professional partner, strategic partner in the Fylde Coast Teaching School Alliance and previously a NPQH Development School he has engaged and supported headteachers, senior and middle leaders - learning with them and from them. Prior to headship he was Deputy Headteacher at Our Lady's Catholic High School, Lancaster and Head of Science at De La Salle in St. Helen's.


“Full of knowledge, this book offers a snapshot of the future, rather than a prediction. Liminal Leadership offers two different worlds, standing astride that which has been and that which will be. Tierney asks the most-hardened educator, ‘why choose to be a teacher and school leader?’ and suggests that whatever the future holds, always believing that the problem is out there limits what you can do. Tierney shows us how school culture can be cultivated, not just by wading through a different kind of education system, but how leadership can be tackled with compassion, by being better informed.”
Ross Morrison McGill, Deputy Headteacher and @TeacherToolkit, The Most Followed UK Teacher on Twitter, who writes at:

“This book is as if you are being personally mentored by Stephen whilst he calmly and securely explains key points and rationales behind leadership. It feels as if you are in his office having a conversation, which makes it easy to read and digest. I found myself pausing, to take notes based on my own practice and left me reflecting more than I ever have. Thank you for writing!”
Amjad Ali, Assistant Headteacher and blogger.

“Building bridges’ is the recurring motif in Stephen Tierney’s ‘Liminal Leadership’ and it would be a struggle to think of anyone better placed to do so than Twitter’s @LeadingLearner. Not only is he one of the nicest people you are ever likely to tweet or meet, but he has pretty much all the t-shirts you are ever likely to wear in school leadership: Deputy, Headteacher, Executive Head, MAT leader.”
Keven Bartle, Headteacher, Canons High School, Harrow and blogger.

“In Liminal Leadership, Stephen Tierney demonstrates how, for him, “Education is an act of love”. Skilfully interweaving personal stories with professional insights, Stephen explores “our why” in education – what motivates us, what the most effective leadership looks like and what we learn on our journey to being the best leader we can be. In the face of a tendency towards dualism in some quarters, Stephen shows how successful schools give a child the means of earning a living and also a reason for living – this is not an either/or proposition.”
Jill Berry, education consultant and former headteacher.

“I started to read this book on a flight home from my summer holiday and wished that the flight was longer! I did not want to put it down because Stephen’s love of learning, teaching and leadership permeates each chapter of Liminal Leadership and it is set alongside his faith; a faith which has given him strength and support throughout his career. Stephen’s passion for subsequent generations of teachers to be encouraged into leadership roles and, ultimately, headship shines through. In addition, his ability to build bridges between the primary and secondary phases is worthy of note. This will become a book for school leaders which will be read repeatedly depending upon where they are in their own professional journey.”
Jon Chaloner, CEO GLF Schools.

“Anyone that has read any of Stephen’s blogs will know; he is a really clever and astute man. Liminal Leadership underlines this point very clearly. However this is not a book that lacks practical and accessible advice, be it through Stephen’s letters to himself or the ‘think pieces’ spread throughout it. Stephen’s journey will resonate with NQTs through to Executive Principals; it makes you feel better to know that he went through it too. There is no doubt that everyone can learn something about themselves that will help them, and the young people they serve, through reading this book.”
Vic Goddard, Principal of Passmores Academy, Essex. Author, Best Job in the World.

“In this engaging and insightful book, Stephen Tierney takes us through his life as a headteacher and executive headteacher through a tangential series of reflections, quotations and anecdotes. We see how his practice has been shaped by the people he has met, read and worked with, his honest and heart-warming mistakes as well as his many successes and how his increasing engagement with research and networks across the real and virtual worlds has shaped his thinking.”
Debra Kidd, Teacher, trainer and blogger.

“Liminal Leadership provides unique insights into the professional and personal journey of a leader in education – from newly qualified teacher to CEO of an all-through MAT. It is witty, serious and honest.”
Mary Myatt, education adviser, author of High Challenge, Low Threat.

“This is a ‘Must Read’ for those of you who are embarking on a leadership role in education. Stephen’s reflection on his journey in teaching and leadership is honest in the way he shares his moments of success along with the times he got it wrong. You will during your time in a leadership role make mistakes, we all do, they are painful but you learn from them. Occasionally you get the opportunity to learn from others and Stephen’s generous description of his ups and downs, in early Headship, is one such opportunity.”
Barry Leyland, Chair of the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust.

“Liminal Leadership provides a great insight into a Stephen’s career of learning and leadership. This book is underpinned by moral purpose, great teaching and a passion for learning. Open, honest and providing a transparent account of the many challenges faced in education leadership. Like any great book it doesn’t profess to have all the answers but it certainly asks the right questions. A must read for anyone who aspires or is in a current leadership position.”
Stephen Logan, Deputy Headteacher, Malet Lambert School.

“This book is one to treasure as Stephen shares his leadership journey over the last 30 years tracking the changes in the system with the challenges they brought to him. Firmly rooted in his own experience he provides practical leadership solutions and models which leaders at all levels will find useful. The book demonstrates how important a deep personal moral and faith ‘rootedness’ is in leading our schools and will inevitably become a standard text for those preparing for headship.”
Ros McMullen, former headteacher and CEO of a MAT, now Managing Director at

“Liminal Leadership offers the reader a delightful combination of wisdom, detailed insight and humour. Stephen Tierney describes his teaching career with honesty and warmth whilst reflecting powerfully on the impact that leadership has to make the difference we seek. Read this - it will entertain, inspire and ultimately remind you why you became a teacher.”
Dame Alison Peacock, CEO Designate of the College of Teaching, Headteacher of Wroxham School.
“I loved this book. It literally sings of Stephen. Reading it was like sitting and listening to him talk, eyes fixated, mouth slightly ajar – he writes with the quiet determined passion that he exudes when speaking on education. It was a real privilege to follow the words which so beautifully echo him as a leader and a man. Gentle, honest, quietly unassuming at times, but fully and glitteringly informed throughout, I couldn’t put it down. The pages and chapters scream of integrity, humility, humanity and credibility in leadership. Stephen writes on what leadership truly is and how we can ourselves, all, be better leaders. I want to be better, and I’m pretty damn sure that this book will help me in that pursuit. Stephen walks the walk, he talks the talk and, boy, does he write one heck of a book.”
Natalie Scott, TES Blogger of the Year and SLE

“This book is a wonderful mix of personal, practical and theoretically underpinned advice for school leaders. It gets the balance just right between completely relatable anecdote and the well thought through learning and advice that can be taken from these personal experiences. I particularly enjoyed the extremely self-reflective style throughout - a quality essential for any good leader. This book is an essential read for all new and aspiring school leaders - thoroughly recommended.”
Sam Twiselton, Professor of Education and Director of Sheffield Institute of Education.

“This is quite an extraordinary book. Stephen’s learning journey progresses through each chapter, as he reflects, sometimes quite brutally and candidly, about mistake and successes, inspirations and challenges. Weaving together different ideas he’s encountered and explored; you can see the synthesis of his thinking as you read. Revelling in every single setback as much as every success, there are a huge number of ideas to reflect on for your own leadership journey, alongside the development of your team or organisation.”
David Weston, Chief Executive, Teacher Development Trust.

Additional Information

Author Stephen Tierney
ISBN 9781911382065
No of pages 202
Format Paperback
Publication Date 17 Oct 2016

Product Tags

Use spaces to separate tags. Use single quotes (') for phrases.


Write Your Own Review

You're reviewing: Liminal Leadership: Building bridges across the chaos... because we're standing on the edge

How do you rate this product? *

  1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars