Looking forward to the new academic year and the challenges it will bring, those leading schools and organisations know that they need all the help they can muster from others! I have worked with school leaders on school improvement initiatives for many years now, and continue to enjoy supporting and encouraging (as well as challenging) developing leaders of learning at all levels. I have been particularly successful when working as a “critical friend” to head teachers in a “SIP like/advisory” role and I continue to offer this service to those who know how important an independent view of the organisation can be. I believe that this becomes even MORE important as schools join larger and larger Trusts and Federations that are increasingly reliant upon internal expertise, and have reduced access to any external challenge to the status quo.
I have received many endorsements for my work since Inspir.ed was formed almost a decade ago now, but my favourite has to be this one from Sue Heale, a very successful head teacher working in schools in Somerset:
“Across 15 years and in 3 different headships of schools that were rated by Ofsted as requiring special measures through to one that was recognised as outstanding, Jenny has provided a highly effective and much valued combination of inspiration, advice, support and challenge. Her wide-ranging connections with the education community, and the extent and depth of her reading, have kept me abreast of and supported me to embrace, constructively question and sometimes challenge, current education thinking. With a particular flair for the technical language of education, working in partnership with Jenny has made the process of writing SEFs and monitoring reports an enjoyable and rewarding task. Training delivered by Jenny consistently provides excellent value for money and never fails to deliver to the agenda I have agreed with her. In a nutshell: Jenny knows education; understands education; researches education and has constructively supported me to continuously improve the education offered to ALL pupils. And after all, isn’t this what every child deserves?”
It says in a nutshell what I do best, so if anything there resonates as a need with you, feel free to contact me, and I shall be happy to help as appropriate.
As an ex head teacher I know how important it is to devolve the leadership, develop teachers as leaders of learning, and to ensure succession planning within organisations so that high quality work continues. Inspir.ed has produced a number of handbooks to clarify the roles of middle leaders over the years, and these have evolved according to the changing demands of the accountability overlords. This summer I have completed my most recent update to this invaluable series of documents. It is now entitled “Leaders’ Handbook 2018” and supercedes all previous versions. I believe it is a useful practical guide for middle leaders, and that it can form the basis of job descriptions for performance review purposes, containing guidance, as it does, on not only what leaders should be doing by on why it is so important that they do it well. Available now on in the Resources section, I hope you will find it useful as a basis for improvement work in the coming year.
Good luck with the new academic year. You know where I am if you need me!