So many of those in middle leadership, will at some point aspire to be on Senior Leadership; it’s the natural progression and order of a school route. You see Senior Leadership in your own school, you hear about it in staff briefings and meetings and to a certain degree, already do some of the work and feed into whole school projects. But what’s the reality of being on ‘the team’? That, until we achieve it is something most are not able to find out, by which point, we may not know if it was the right route to take.
Me, fitting this category and wanting to progress, saw the JTMAT ‘Aspiring to Senior Leadership’ course on offer, instantly requested it hoping it would answer those questions of the reality of the job.
What was given in the outline lived up perfectly to what was offered. I wanted to know what the roles included and how to get there.
Day 1 – Introduction: explore various Assistant Head roles, job descriptions and letters of application (we know the hardest part is getting through to interview, so great place to start)
Two Day Secondment – opportunity to spend two days in a Senior Leadership Team where you partake in: Learning walks, SLT meetings, Line Management, Duties, Bespoke shadowing activities.
Day 2 – Final sessions reflecting on the secondment, Interview Tasks and feedback.
As with any job, there are perks and drawbacks. The good, the perks: JTHS had an amazing team of staff, who I could tell set the ambiance of the school and created a positive working atmosphere. Definitely a perk! Let’s be honest, people make the job. SLT all worked closely together and communication was key to every person’s role keeping everyone in the loop and ultimately making everyone’s job that little bit easier. The staff I met answered my questions honestly and gave a thorough overview of their position helping me to see the reality of a job, and not just what I imagine it to be on paper. I had the opportunity to explore all different roles, 6th form, pastoral, data, SEN and Teaching and Learning, which allowed me to see if my first thoughts about the area I wanted to explore was actually right. And of course I was given reflection time – as a teacher and middle leader we know information is only useful if we have the opportunity to do something with it.
The drawbacks. From my own experience, on reflection, as I was unsure of the direction I wanted to take, I wish I’d had another day there where I could shadow the SLT with the role I had chosen to actually see the entire day from their perspective. I wouldn’t change the course I experienced as it enabled me to decide that actually my first thoughts wasn’t actually what I wanted. Id decided that a route into 6th form (where I would take ownership of all areas – not what I expected) was more the route for me. But after realising this, to shadow the head of 6th form for the day would have been useful and I will be pursuing opportunities to shadow and collaborate with the Head of 6th form in my own school to enhance my further career opportunities.
Overall my experience form attending this course has insightful, inspiring and informative. I feel I truly explored the reality of the role and also the steps to getting there. It gave me the confidence to know that this is the direction for me and that I can successfully achieve it. It also highlighted my own development needs, what I would need to fill the gaps. I now have an action plan which I’ve already began working on and implementing whole school. A marking review based on sub groups to identify and inform our marking for those requiring intervention, a course I’m due to attend regarding the implementation of T Levels to link to my goal of 6th Form and lastly writing educational blogs (this being my first) to share my experiences and become a wider part of leadership across the country.
What I would recommend – if you want a real experience and honest answers and are considering Senior Leadership, this course would benefit you.
Hayley Harper Subject Leader Media Studies and ICT and Manager of Marketing and Publicity Kingsmead School
Subject Leader Media Studies and ICT and Manager of Marketing and Publicity