Both as a teacher, and then as a school leader, at the beginning of each new year I used to identify what I would be trying to achieve over the course of the year to come. In both roles, my focus was always around how I would be working to improve my understanding and my practice so that I was better able to meet the holistic needs of all my learners.
As the external environment becomes more complex (law changes, penalty increases, more vocal and critical stakeholders, technology changes), more demands are placed on the leadership teams in schools. Coordinated crisis management in the short term is all very well. But is the training investment by the organisation keeping pace with the future needs of the school?
I wholeheartedly agree with her majesty’s chief inspector of schools. That’s a sentence I never believed I would write. When, however, Amanda Spielman expressed the view that Primary schools who scrap most of the curriculum in Year 6 to focus just on English and maths could be accused of “putting the interests of schools ahead of the interests of the children in them”, it is difficult to see how any education professional could disagree.
Innovate My School, sector leader in providing schools across the UK with the latest education resources, are inviting school leaders to the Innovate My School LIVE roadshow. This newly-announced series of events will bring the organisation’s pioneering speed dates to innovative schools across the UK from July 2017. Each will focus on how schools today are doing more with less, as well as how they can continue to innovate in spite of squeezed budgets. During each Innovate My School LIVE event, leaders from each region will be introduced to 10 of the most exciting innovators in the education sector.
I tweet and blog a lot about my network and how being an outward-facing leader who is connected to a wider educational community fuels me. It the last few years through Twitter, StaffRm, #WomenEd and now #BAMEed, through #TeachMeets, #leadmeets and #researched I have met a plethora of fantastic educational contacts who have inspired me, empowered me and connected me. Through these connections I have ended up meeting brilliant educators and collaborating on some fantastic projects. These collaborations have reignited my passion for my profession.
I wasn’t always going to be a teacher. In 1988, I was at Jesus College, Oxford researching the iconography of landscape in British film. In the late eighties, it was a topic right on the edge of Geography. My thesis supervisor was the razor sharp Professor David Harvey; probably the most famous geographer in the world at that time. But a postcard note in my college pigeonhole changed the direction of my life. A colleague in the School of Geography had obtained a lectureship and asked me to take over his part time teaching job at St Edward's School in Summertown, an Independent School just north of Oxford. I accepted the job. I thought it would be an interesting change from the Upper Reading Rooms and the cramped viewing booths of the British Film Institute, plus a much needed boost to my scholarship stipend.
Leading a school is a privilege, and a tremendous opportunity to have a positive influence – to lead in the way you think it should be done, to focus on the priorities you believe to be the right ones and to create an environment where it is possible for those you lead to be their best selves. You have the chance to make a difference to the lives of students, and of staff, on a scale unlike any other you have ever known. There’s huge reward and satisfaction in this, and, in my experience, joy.
I tweet and blog a lot about my network and how being an outward-facing leader who is connected to a wider educational community fuels me. It the last few years through Twitter, StaffRm, #womened and now #bameed, through #teachmeets, #leadmeets and #researched I have met a plethora of fantastic educational contacts who have inspired me, empowered me and connected me. Through these connections I have ended up meeting brilliant educators and collaborating on some fantastic projects. These collaborations have reignited my passion for my profession.