What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is about creating a vision for your organisation, setting an example by modelling the behaviours you expect from colleagues and guiding them in the direction you want them to go.
Great leaders can communicate their vision well and generate a sense of moral purpose so that those working with them understand the rationale behind their vision.
Leadership is about making tough decisions and sticking by them in order to achieve the best outcome for your organisation – in my case, for over 1,000 students and 160 staff at a secondary school.
What are your biggest leadership and management challenges?
The biggest challenges facing the teaching profession at the moment are teacher recruitment and retention, and budget restraints.
Recruiting excellent teachers in certain subjects, such as mathematics and science, has become progressively more difficult since there is a shortage of new recruits and people are not staying in the profession.
Teachers are working twice as hard in an already demanding job to cover vacancies, which can impact on morale and affect students.
Schools must become more creative about solving these issues so that they can balance the books.
How does the general context of education feed in to those major challenges?
On top of the staff and budget challenges, there have been changes to examination specifications and GCSE grading.
As it is an unsettling time, the message that teaching is a brilliant job gets lost.
Yet, for me, there is nothing more rewarding than to see students grow up into young men and women who are using the skills that we have given them to succeed.
What are you personally focusing on now from a leadership and management perspective?
By its very nature, teaching is a constant learning curve since you come across new challenges every single day. I continually learn from others and I am looking into networking and research as part of my own development.
How are you developing your people?
In the past, staff members have had the opportunity to select from a menu of professional development opportunities.
We also have 20-minute professional development sessions on Thursday mornings, where colleagues present initiatives that have had a positive impact on student outcomes.
Where would you like to see the Institute focus its future efforts from a policy perspective?
I have learned so much since joining the Institute and would love other people in education to be a part of it. I would like to see the Institute engage with more educators and encourage them to become members.
This article was taken from the Autumn 2017 edition of Edge magazine.
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