Appointed on: 14/12/2017
Prior to retiring in August 2017 I was the founding CEO of a Multi-Academy Trust working within South East London and Kent. I have been part of the teaching profession for 32 years; twenty of which have been as either a Head Teacher or as an executive leader in a wide variety of schools. I feel extremely honoured to have been a school leader; a role that I undertook with integrity alongside an incredible sense of being a ‘servant leader’.
The last six years of my career were spent in leading an Academy Trust of four primary schools with a free school in pre-opening. I am firmly committed to the idea that successful leaders should support the system by taking responsibility for more than one school wherever possible to ensure that excellent practice is disseminated and supported. During my time as an executive leader I worked hard to ensure that the community-offer across the Trust supported extended school provision both through out of hours care and through the provision of high quality pre-school provisions operating on each site and offering birth to five child care.
Through my work as a Local Leader of Education (2008), and since 2011 as a National Leader of Education, I have aspired to demonstrate the ability to work sensitively and collaboratively with a range of partners in order to improve the life chances for the pupils within those schools. I have supported, and developed, school improvement in a range of capacities, including secondment, PSCL support, LLE/NLE input and also Professional Partner working with newly appointed Head Teachers. All of these roles require the need to demonstrate emotional intelligence thus allowing me to work effectively with school in the most challenging circumstances. Additionally, my range of successful roles, and my work with the National College, demonstrates working within, and beyond, my own individual organisations; sharing and harnessing the best resource to bring about improvement in my own and other schools. My vast experience is also put to good use across a range of HR-related activities including mentoring and coaching. My skills and experience have also been utilized, providing independent/unbiased support, to resolve disagreements through mediation if there are disputes between colleagues.
Two key skills required to be a National Leader of Education, alongside being an effective Executive Leader of four schools, include being both articulate and reflective . Each of these attributes is evident in my day to day work and in my pedagogical thinking. My work to date demonstrates determination to improve outcomes for children and young people. I am not afraid to have ‘difficult conversations’ if it means improving the life chances of our young people.
In 2014 I had the very real privilege to be appointed by the Regional Schools’ Commissioner (RSC), Dominic Herrington, initially for a three-year term, as a member of the South East South London Region’s Head Teacher Board (HTB). This was subsequently extended in order for the delayed elections to be put in place to elect the new Head Teacher Board Members for November 2017. The experience of sitting on the HTB Board has enabled me to share my experiences and expertise while also being able to learn from the wider practice that is evident across the academy sector. This included developing strategy in relation to MAT Health Checks and Financial Monitoring. I was able to use this knowledge and experience when appointed as the Interim CEO of a failing Trust which had run into difficulties on all levels including HR, Financial and Pupils’ Outcomes-related. I am able to sit on Boards and apply my knowledge and experience from being a CEO as well as having been part of the strategic decision making at DfE level.
I am highly conversant with Multi Academy Trust (MAT) governance models and good practice. My most recent Trustee Board appointment is at the request of the SESL RSC in order to support a Trust that has recently lost its CEO through ill health; unfortunately his resignation also coincided with the end of the Board’s term of office and therefore a completely new board has been appointed.
I believe that peer to peer support is a fantastic resource; I view this work as part of the moral imperative of being a school leader with responsibility for supporting the development of the next generation. More recently I have been working closely with the DfE in the reducing workload initiatives and working on the follow up to the three, initial reports through various DfE workshops and working parties in relation to the February 2017 Reducing Workload updates. It is my interest in supporting peers that has led me to pursue becoming an external advisor for HT and CEO appraisal. A role that I am thoroughly enjoying as I am able to be empathetic to the appraisee whilst also maintaining a focus on improving pupils’ outcomes. I am also a coach and this gives me another avenue through which to support colleagues in their work.
Since retiring I have joined the Chartered College of Teaching (CCT) and have become an advocate for this organisation as I do believe that our vocation benefits through having a well-informed, professional body to support teaching as a profession. I have been invited to become a Regional Lead Advocate but, due to other commitments, I shall be leaving this until 2018. As part of my role of advocate I am a member of both the Medway CCT steering group as well as having been approached to sit on the South East London Regional Advocate Team, a position which I have accepted.
I am keen to support professionals to develop further and as such I am an accredited facilitator of the new National College’s National Professional Qualification (NPQ) courses; this includes the delivery of the 1:1 coaching element for all of the NPQ courses including that involved in the new NPQH training course which was introduced in September 2017. I am also able to deliver bespoke training to schools and MATs on a range of subjects including Safeguarding and Child Protection, Recruiting for Quality, as well as a range of leadership and/or motivational talks. I am also able to facilitate as the host for training days and conference events.
Leadership at all levels within a school is a real interest for me and I include Governance at all levels in this aspect of a school’s development. During my career I have been an appointed Local Authority (LA) governor, a staff governor, an ex-officio Trustee as well as being a Chair of a Board of Trustees within a Special School Trust in Kent. I am also very proud to be a Member of the Stour Academy Trust in a voluntary capacity in order to contribute to this growing trust which serves a wide geographical area.
I consider myself to be a ‘life-long learner’ and as such I have become a full member of Vistage, a world-wide leadership organisation committed to supporting and developing lead professionals across the commercial and voluntary sectors.
I fully endorse the DfE’s work in examining workload and recruitment concerns related to the teaching profession. My work-life harmony is balanced and this is through the wonderful companionship of a tortoise, a dog and a wonderful life-time ambition to be the owner of a rather superb campervan. The perfect combination for an ideal life and a very good reason to retire early while young enough to have the energy and wherewithal to enjoy it to the full!