One year as a Headteacher! I survived, I am still smiling (well most of the time- there have been tears too!). It has been the most amazing year but equally the hardest one yet. How did I get to this point? My own school, me a head? I have been asking myself this a lot just lately.
When I decided to change my career nearly ten years ago now, I was always in two minds leaving my job as a play therapist in Paediatric Oncology which I loved immensely, I worked with an amazing team of people and met fantastic children and families. I was privileged to be a part of their lives. The job offered me great opportunities to change the way we prepared children for their treatments, I made dolls with Hickman lines, veins, radiotherapy masks to enable children to be prepared for their procedures through the magic of play. Then I was asked to write a chapter in a medical book with professors, publish papers and speak at conferences. How could I replace that ?
Simple really, I began to teach and I loved every second ( I miss teaching a lot! Don’t tell Mr W but I still teach the odd lesson now- good to keep your hand in!). Skill sets are transferable and I used many I already had which opened doors, I became Senco, then assistant head and then deputy head. Our school decided to join the Flying High Trust and a conversation with Mr Wheatley opened doors to opportunities. Thank you Mr Wheatley.
Returning to the present, I could not have done this year without the amazing support from the Trust I work for. The Flying High Partnership has the children at the heart of every thing they do thus creating the best schools in the universe!
There are so many challenges that face schools today but so many heroes and heroines that are working to break them down. I am fortunate to have had those loving arms of support and challenge. If I think back to day one of Headship and then to the present I have changed, grown and developed as a leader.
For me, the magic of the partnership is the opportunities it brings- a network of Headteacher’s who support each other, share practice and challenge each other. They are amazing heads and each of them have supported me through my first year.
Unrivalled CPD for all the staff which allows schools to grow their teams for the needs of their communities and children enabling schools to flourish independently.
Each school has a Director of Quality Assurance who supports and challenges them, this has been the best CPD I have had- I have had two and both challenged me outside my comfort zone and supported me every step of the journey. Thank you Mr Robins and Mr Wilkes. I now am working with a Mr W, he lives the journey with me, he has pushed me out of my comfort zone, challenged me and nurtured me to grow- I am still growing, when I stop growing it will be time to retire. Thank you Mr Wilkes.
This year I have dealt with things that I have never had experience of before. Like many schools, out budget is tight- I have had to look at the budget carefully and be efficient and effective with resources. Being part of the partnership means my school business manager and I haven’t had to do this alone, Mrs M Director of Finance has been with us every step of the way. Thank you Mrs Maxey. I had never dealt with Human Resources before and it’s not really something you are taught as part of NPQH. The partnerships HR manager has been at the end of the phone, email and at times I have had her on speed dial! Thank you Mrs Hannon. Community engagement is huge, schools need to be at the heart of their community – we have a group of local community representives that work together to support each other and organise events. Mr Layfield set this up and it has grown into a successful group that organises fantastic annual events through the year. Not only does Mr Layfield do that he also makes magic happen for fencing and flooring. In fact all the central team have played a part in our journey – central team – you are amazing – thank you.
If you read negative things about MATs then you are just not working for the right one.
While it has been a challenging year, it’s also been one to celebrate. The team are dedicated, passionate and want the best for our children. My Deputy head has been my right arm, she has been at school for ten years and knows the community well. She is driven and passionate about our school and shares the vision. Creating a SLT and having the right people in the right place has been pivotal. We have a talented team who share their practice using an open door policy. School has a culture of sharing pedagogy and creating the best learning experiences for our children. We are all striving for excellence- staff thrive which means the children thrive too. There is a culture of love, nurture and growth. We have high aspiration and expectations for all our children irrespective of their starting points, backgrounds and barriers to learning. It’s a happy place to be. Together we have a culture in creation- a safe climate to make a difference if we make a mistake it’s just an opportunity for new learning.
As a team, we have embraced the support and challenge from FHP. The team have worked hard to ensure the best outcomes for all our children. Whatever the results of tests I know we have worked hard as a team and so have our children. I am proud of both the children and the team.
Schools are always on a journey, it’s never a straight path, obstacles will always appear so you just keep driving forward adopting, adapting and flying!
If you are thinking of becoming a teacher do it! If you are thinking of becoming a head do it!!
it is the best job in the world.
Let’s see what year two brings….