As Peter Drucker said “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things.” In seventeen years as a senior leader and eleven as a headteacher this rings as true today as when it was written in 2007.
I am fortunate to have worked in some great schools; from a large comprehensive in Bolton, to West Lancashire and for the last seventeen years in the Ribble Valley. It is no coincidence that as a geography teacher I love both working and living in this area!
My first flirtation with senior leadership was being given the responsibility to produce a timetable (as well as run the Geography Department); I can still remember how my half-term evaporated as I threw myself at the task of timetabling with what felt like a hopeless succession of incompatible variables and the inevitable compromises. However, my most vivid memory was my deputyhead saying to me “by doing the timetable you will understand the school down to its bones”, how right he was! From this point onwards, I was hooked on senior leadership and the challenges it presents.
I was fortunate enough in 2000 to become deputy headteacher at Ribblesdale High School and it was here I also worked on obtaining my NPQH and indeed a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. This period saw the school become a highly successful Technology College and I led some very important developments within the school. Six years later, I became headteacher at Bowland High School and oversaw some major changes for the school including it becoming an academy, a successful bidding for a rebuild of the main school and an Outstanding Judgement in an Ofsted Inspection. During this period, I also trained as a Local Leader of Education.
In 2012 I moved back to Ribblesdale as headteacher. Soon after this, the school was inspected and deemed RI. This was perhaps one of the most challenging phases of my career but with an incredible team, a relentless focus on improvement and a clear vison, the school received a very strong Ofsted report in 2015 of good in all areas. The school has continued to develop and is now one of only six in the country, which is a Microsoft Training Academy which involves working very closely with Microsoft in developing and using new technologies to improve teaching and learning.
Since 2015 I have worked in a number of schools supporting Local Authority advisors in the capacity of school improvement. In early 2016 I was seconded as a part-time associate headteacher to a school, which found itself with no headteacher for two terms. I have really relished the school-to-school support I have done which is also incredibly beneficial to Ribblesdale. In February 2017 I became a NLE and have continued to support a number of schools in a selection of leadership areas. The main areas I have supported include Developing Middle Leadership, The Quality of Teaching and Learning and Whole School Improvement Planning. I am also skilled in the areas of New Technologies and T&L and Curriculum Evaluation and Development.
In 2015. I became Vice Chair of Lancashire Association of Secondary School Headteachers and am now its Chairperson.
As an NLE, my driver is to always ensure that my support brings sustained improvement and that the schools I work with lead on the right things!