[I’ve had the pleasure of developing and delivering our Leadership training over the past 12 months and I always love meeting and working with the people who come on the 3 part course. They always have a story to tell, an interesting background and a keen interest in developing themselves.
Although I’ve never reached the dizzy heights of SLT, I’ve got a lot of experience and knowledge from being part of middle leadership for a number of years. My skills and experience include me successfully running an SEN department for 7 years, working with over 50 children and coordinating 15 staff. During my role, Ofsted commented on the outstanding organisation of the department and clear goal setting that had been introduced. The smooth running of this department was built upon the good relationships and clear communications I had with staff, parents and children at the time. And it’s this role, I always think back to, when delivering our Leadership training.
It’s also come about through a number of recent experiences I’ve had recently, being totally inspired and then thinking that being inspired by others is an essential part of developing yourself as a leader and why is it so many headteachers we come across, think that development for themselves is not needed? Is it an arrogance? They have already reached the top, I’m far too superior for this. Is it embarrassment? If I expose myself as someone who has areas to develop, that makes me a failure. Or is it time? I’m too busy to develop myself, but I can allow my staff to take my place instead.
I’ve come to the conclusion that successful leadership is about collaboration, it’s about sharing ideas, it’s about continually seeking development for yourself and for those around you. Do you need a title? No. Do you need to be ranked against your peers in superiority? No. Leadership is so much more that that.
In the past week or so, I’ve been exposed to a number of people who have allowed me to become a better version of myself, people that I wish to learn from because I see their leadership as inspirational.]
In my number 3 spot, is someone I’ve only come across in the past few months, but has had an enormous impact. This is Jeremy Hannay, a headteacher in London. The reason I’ve been drawn to him is his unique desire to break the mould. The teachers we’ve had recently on our training, seem scared to death of ‘difference.’ Doing things that they believe are right, but what would Ofsted say? For example, they all recognise that they should be more transformational and spend far too much of their time doing transactional stuff, but when you discuss the reasons for this, it’s out of fear of disappointing someone else.
This is not Jeremy. He’s been brave and he’s been bold and got rid of the ‘noise’ from his school. Lesson planning, gone. Data collection, gone. Target setting gone. Learning walks, gone. And this really is just the beginning. People told him he was crazy, people told him it wouldn’t work and that’s not the way to do things, but he stuck by his guns. His philosophy being, that if he improved staff well-being, this would in turn lead to his staff being better teachers, leading to better learning, leading to happy children who made good progress. And, when Ofsted came knocking earlier this year, his school was awarded ‘Outstanding’ in all areas. Do not get me wrong, although he was pleased with the grade, he is very clear on his feelings about Ofsted and the culture of fear that they have created in education and shortly after his inspection, wrote a ‘laid bare’ blog, addressed to Ofsted, stating just that.
My last inspiration comes from a leader who does everything for the children and the community that his school is in. Dave McPartlin, headteacher of Flakefleet Primary in Lancashire. You may recognise the name of this school as they were the first to get the Golden Buzzer, from David Walliams at this years Britain’s Got Talent. This headteacher truly believes in every single child at his school and promises to give them the most exciting, rich and inspirational education he possibly can. Like Jeremy, he ignores the sceptics, the pessimists and goes with his vision and dream and as BGT shows, he proved everyone wrong.
To have a local primary school do what Flakefleet did, showed everyone that dreaming big, was not just a lovely quote, but achievable and real. He’s now busying himself in another ‘Dare 2 Dream’ project, creating a better Fleetwood.
So there you have it, inspirational leaders in all walks of life, people to aspire to.
Be the maker of change, lead from the front, break the mould and as Dave would say “Dare to Dream.”