#TalkingHeadsBlog: Inside the Heads of our School Leaders

I have been reflecting a lot in the 6 months since I was appointed as Headteacher Designate for Aureus School, and especially over the Christmas break, over how I can best learn and develop as a Headteacher . I feel very privileged to have a fantastically supportive and experienced #PLN to draw on, who inspire me in my role as a leader.  How can I grow from these critical friendships?

For me I learn best by speaking to, listening to, reading and learning from those who are doing what I seek to do. I learn through my senses and through my experiences. I learn best from those who I respect and trust, those with credibility. I want to learn how to ‘walk the walk’ from those who have done it or are doing it, by listening to them ‘talk the talk’.

So alongside my regular blog as a new Headteacher, I am going to publish a weekly blog, from a Headteacher who is more established and more experienced than me, to gain insight from their leadership journey. They will share the challenges they have faced and the solutions they found, which will in turn help me and others who are starting or have just started their headships navigate the highs and the lows.

SO I INTRODUCE TO YOU: ‘TALKING HEADS’

Why:

  • To promote the diversity of the Headteacher community
  • To elevate the profile and amplify the voices of those challenging the systems
  • To celebrate teaching as a profession and advocate school leadership journeys

How:

  • To create a dialogue between senior leaders aspiring to headship and serving Headteachers
  • To share leadership challenges and solutions
  • To inspire teachers and leaders to aspire to be Headteachers

What:

  • To publish a weekly blog to share leadership journey and insights
  • To use a common Q&A format: 2 Why, 2 How, 2 What questions answered
  • To share insight through varying content: questions selected by the leader being profiled

Target Audience:

  • Deputy Headteachers preparing to secure Headships
  • Senior leaders aspiring to become Headteachers
  • Teachers who want to see leaders who represent their backgrounds and experiences progress up the leadership ladder

#Nurture1617: Past, Present & Future

Wow!

What a year?

It seems like it must have been much more than 12 months must have passed since I wrote my #Nurture1516 post! But clearly this goal setting had a positive impact on me and has guided me through my personal and professional journey. I will continue to use the same 5 point format as it seems to have worked thus far in structuring my thinking and my actions: New Opportunities; New Location; New Perspectives; New Freedoms; New Travels.

2015/16:

New Opportunities:

I have had so many doors opened for me this year. Presenting at #TMLondon and SSAT conference took me out of my comfort zone. I have gained a lot through becoming a DfE coach for women leaders.

New Location:

I interviewed for 2 roles in Bristol and 1 in Bath, I was convinced I would end up back in the West Country and I have enjoyed connecting with the edu-community in the SW. However, the stars aligned and have helped me leave London but will be taking me to a new place to explore and settle in…

New Perspectives:

Supporting the launch of #BAMEed, co-founded by Allana Gay and Amjad Ali has helped my insight into the barriers facing the system. It has also helped me support some of my coachees who are faced with the challenges of inter-sectionality.

New Freedoms:

I have really enjoyed having an outward-facing, autonomous role for a year. It has been weird not teaching, not having a timetable, not having any duties, not being based in a school, but it has been liberating getting out and about. I have met so many brilliant educators, initiated alot of collaborative partnerships, attended some thought-provoking events.

New Travels:

Tanzania and my LRTT experience was unexpected. I had not planned my summer and had it not been for a conversation on a sunny Friday afternoon, following a #womened networking event last July I would not have experienced the brilliant summer I had. A summer that reconnected me to my vocation and reminded me why I teach. I also met a great group of teachers from the UK and from Njombe who will be lifelong friends.

2016/17:

New Opportunities:

Well they don’t come much bigger than starting a school from scratch! I have a big bit of white paper laid out in front of me. My brain is like spaghetti junction, a web of ideas for short, medium and long term at Aureus. I am excited to start making sense of them and planning the strategy to support us in our journey to our opening in September. May 8th is our first landmark as we get the keys and the site is signed over to us that day.

New Location:

I will leave London at Easter and re-locate to Oxfordshire, I am not quite sure where yet, but I am looking forward to exploring and laying down some new roots. When  drive to the school site in Didcot, surrounded by an expanse of green fields and an endless blue sky, I feel a shift in my soul. I am excited to have a change of scene and a change of pace.

New Perspectives:

A new role, means a new CEO, a new boss and a new culture – all will bring new perspectives and new experiences. Equally as a Headteacher I am excited about creating a school community that finds solutions for some of the systemic barriers that #womened and #BAMEed criticises.

New Freedoms:

As a Headteacher and a Regional Director I am looking forward to the responsibility of decision making. The buck stopping with me, does not scare me, but thrills me as it is empowering. I can’t wait to make some changes to things that have frustrated me in previous roles and contexts.

New Travels:

I am starting the new year as I mean to go on – with a trip to Northern Ireland. Following a wedding in Lusty Bay, I will be catching up with friends, old and new in Belfast. Easter takes me to Canada to the #ulead17 conference in Lake Louise and a mini-break in Calgary with my best friend. Who knows where I will end up next summer as it is dependent on how ready we are for opening but Japan and Iceland are still towards the top of my list of places I want to visit…

Hannah, The Hopeful Headteacher

Currently feeling hopeful about:

  • A new year, a new role, a new chapter!

Currently reading and thinking about:

  • Thrive, Arianna Huffington

Currently feeling grateful for:

  • The overwhelming support of the #womened community.
  • Having the grit, determination and resilience to believe in things happening for a reason.
  • Martin Giles for introducing me to my new boss, Jon Chaloner for taking me in to the GLF family.