Many will know Kate Jones for her popular classroom resources, or from her being a member of the original TMHistoryIcons team. Having known Kate for a while, we wanted to share her story of being an expat school leader, having traded in North Wales for the United Arab Emirates...
Next month, education worldwide will turn its eyes onto the Middle East. The free-to-attend Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) 2018 is set to take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 27th February - 1st March, and will feature high-calibre speakers, collaborative sessions, and a wealth of exciting resources. What’s more, the organisers have also arranged for a special series of Innovate My School Speed Networking sessions, wherein delegates will meet a handpicked selection of international edu-innovators.
Unsure about whether or not to head to Bett (ExCeL London, 24th - 27th January) this year? Here are 10 scheduled sessions showing how essential the exhibition will be for schools in 2018...
Sue Cowley is a teacher, author, presenter, traveller, presenter and chair of a preschool committee, which she has helped to run for eight years. Given that Sue has enjoyed a wealth of international experiences across her career so far, we sat down to discuss behaviour, travel, being an author and more.
I have been interested in action research for a number of years. Having working in social services for the first part of my career, we were trained to within an inch of our lives. Much of the training was practical, and focused on the concept of practice development. This evidence-informed practice enabled us to look at the skills and strategies we needed to meet the needs of our service users. Entering teaching in the nineties and noughties I found that this wasn’t really the case. Training was very prescriptive and centralised from government (National Strategies/APP) or ad hoc, and wasn’t concerned with meeting the needs of everyone in every classroom.
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” Richard II, Act 5, Scene 5
The optimal school leader is proactive, personable and pragmatic. The common theme throughout these qualities is time. A proactive leader ensures that deadlines are adhered to and best laid-plans are not forgotten. They are willing to make time for others, listen attentively and take onboard contrasting viewpoints. Pragmatism means they can prioritise the most important tasks to hand and make sensible decisions.
In over 40 years in education, I have been led by others, and I have led others. I have studied leadership, and I have experienced both good and poor leadership. I have worked for leaders, and worked with leaders. As a leader I have made mistakes and learnt from them, and I have learnt from the mistakes made by other leaders.
“What do you want to achieve as a school leader? What traits will you focus on?” For me, when considering the traits that foster good leadership, you need to start by really considering the people you work with. I saw this quote on Dr. Marcia Tate’s Twitter feed yesterday, and I think it says it all. Good leadership needs to have an outward focus where we as school leaders are always looking to empower and encourage others.
Heading up a team of 20 people you’ve never met before and leading them into a world that you barely understand can teach you a lot about leadership. As we arrived in Kathmandu, ready to continue the training of teachers in Nepal, only a handful of our self-funded volunteers had any experience of teaching. Nobody knew who I was or why I was qualified to be running the show. The volunteers ranged from 17-year-old sixth formers to 60+ year old librarians. We also had well-established teachers, and one headteacher who I had viewed as a heroine and force of nature for quite some time. This was going to be a challenge.
How do teachers really know that what’s happening in their school is making a difference? Are school leaders as effective as they can be? How can they be confident that their teachers are having the biggest impact possible, and how can school business managers effectively support all of this? With these issues in mind, the Schools, Students and Teachers (SSAT) network will be holding the SSAT National Conference 2017 in Manchester, which will be taking place from 30th November to 1st December.