“My career is filled with such wonderful moments…winning the award was a recognition of the great work of the students I was teaching and supporting.”
Winner, The Award for Best New Teacher in a Secondary School, 1999
Now Headteacher And CEO at Poynton High School and The True Learning Partnership Multi Academy Trust
Winning the award was certainly an enormous platform for building my career and it allowed me to truly focus on teaching and learning in leadership positions. Directly because of winning a teaching award I was involved in the planning of Maths Year 2000, planning for the forerunner of Teach First, gained industrial placements, etc.
I started teaching in 1997 as a mathematics teacher at The Beauchamp College (Yrs10 -13) in Leicestershire. It was in my second year there that I won the best new teacher award. After winner I moved to teaching maths in a school in Northampton where I became an Advanced Skills Teacher for maths.
Winning didn’t change my career path in the sense that I had already been appointed to my next job. But after that it gave me access to becoming an advanced skills teacher, a leader of a school centred initial teacher training institution, an advisor for SSAT, etc.
THE JOB, CHANGES AND CHALLENGES
I originally wanted to join the Royal Marines but due to an accident I couldn’t. And so, after my maths degree I decided to try teaching.
I’m now a head teacher of a secondary school and a CEO of a multi-academy trust…so I don’t do much teaching now!?! I wouldn’t say that my style has changed much. I still believe in flipped learning, engaging group work and co-operative learning structures.
Pastoral work is without doubt a much bigger part of the job. The mental health of young people is a significant issue. It is by far the greatest challenge and barrier that our young people face. Self-worth, resilience and confidence are the key areas for focus.
Social media can be a very powerful learning tool. It depends on who is using it and for what reasons. It is the root cause of a great deal of bullying between students. It also has a hugely negative impact on the morale of the teaching profession.
There is not one moment specifically, but my career is filled with such wonderful moments…winning the award was a recognition of the great work of the students I was teaching and supporting; every school production I have ever attended, every time students come to see me for something; getting the chance to lead Duke of Edinburgh programmes and taking students to Buckingham Palace; supporting students to learn triathlon and coaching them; seeing staff I have supported gain promotion, etc, etc. Every day, no matter how hard it is, a real privilege to be supporting young people.
I am most proud of being given the great honour of being a school, and its community’s, head teacher.
Truly, jump in with both feet. Make sure you have a balance in life, go out, socialise and whatever you do, choose a school which fits your own philosophy.
THE TEACHING PROFESSION
I’m afraid the challenges that we face within our profession have changed over recent years, and from my point of view as a head teacher they can be summed up as funding, accountability and fear. In many schools there is true poverty; poverty of resource and poverty of expectation of that resource. However, no matter what the challenges, it is a wonderful job, there really is no better job in the world.
Brave and courageous leadership of senior leaders is needed to not allow their schools to become slaves to the system, but to choose what it is they want to achieve and set out and strip it all back so that is all your staff focus on.