I have recently come back from my 2nd WomenED regional event (Southhampton and Oxford) and I am delighted with the feeling that I am now standing taller....
Question: why would a teacher give up a precious Saturday to engage in voluntary CPD?
Answer: you will get to be inspired by some incredible educators in this country and you will come away feeling strengthened by the new networks and contacts you would have made.
The fact is that our profession has a glass ceiling. Statistically there are more men in senior leadership positions yet the profession is dominated by women. I love the #WomenEd movement because it's a powerful, grassroots organisation which simply seeks to challenge the status quo by helping remove the barriers which stop women and B.A.M.E. educators from applying or being considered for leadership positions.
Both regional events have given me the opportunity to be 10%braver and share my leadership journey and champion my core values.
In the past, my confidence has been knocked by rejected job applications. I have a senior position in a school but the pathway for my male counterparts seems to be linear progression and I find myself, like so many other women, taking the scenic route.
As a result, frustrations have set in and I have really had to dig deep to turn these set backs into challenges and thanks to the free coaching offered by WomenED and the DFE - reflect on my leadership journey. My WHY? What are my values? What experience can I offer to the education sector, colleagues and young people? Why I should pursue the core values that I hold close to my heart and which drive me to want to bring about effective change in our schools and be a leading educator. The movement has given me the confidence to simply do what I feel I must do, to be defined by my soul and not my role, to think bigger, to look beyond one set of school walls.
This confidence has allowed me to forge ahead and as a result there have been some exciting opportunities opening up.
I have been invited to sit on the advisory board for The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools . It is the first university centre dedicated to strengthening mental health in schools across the whole of the UK and has been established at Leeds Beckett University. Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett, explained: focusing on improving classroom practice is not enough; we need to address the mental health of children first and train our students to look after children in the widest sense. The new Centre will give them the best possible grounding whilst boosting the skills of existing teachers and showing senior leaders how to take on a whole school approach to tackling mental health.”
My core values and career path are aligning themselves and the direction is becoming clearer. I am very excited. Watch this space.