I am sat, where it all began for me 7 years ago. For the last time. It is a rather emotional day for me, saying goodbye to the school where my exhilarating and fabulous roller coaster of a journey in Alternative Provision began. The school will never forget me, my choice of bright yellow walls, windows and floors will stay for many more years to come! The Trust will never forget me (I hope!), and my commitment to changing outcomes for the most vulnerable children. The TBAP Family will always stay with me, and will always be a huge part of the leader I am now and the leader I will be going forward.
I have learnt to question and advocate for the most forgotten children. I have learnt the value of resilience in leadership. I have learnt that to teach to the bottom of the group and hold low expectations of SEN and AP learners is failing them from achieving social mobility and creating change in their chaotic worlds. I have learnt the need for compassion and care in not only our interactions with children but with each other. Yet, most importantly to me I have learnt that to be a successful leader you must not only have innovation, creativity and ideas you must have a voice, be present to lean in* and you must stay authentic and true to the person you are. True to the vision you have for education and your non negotiable values. Thank you to everyone in my TBAP family that has created me as the leader that I am today.
7 years ago this school had 3 female staff. Myself, the office manager and an LSP I begged to head to let us have so that the girls could go off site to engage in PE. In 2017, this school is now part of one of the most diverse Trusts I know. I have worked on the Executive Team part time; we have jobs shares, flexible working, more female Heads of School than males ones now and a workforce that is aware of the need for equalities and diversity to be at the centre of decision making. I am proud to have contributed to this, but could not have done it without the support of #womened colleagues, and the commitment that the Trust Executive Team and Board have made to this agenda. Simply, thank you.
*I have been thinking a lot recently about Sheryl Sandberg's idea of Leaning In and I believe that for me it needed some exploration. We all need to decide for us when we should lean in, lean out, lean to the side or lean backwards. What to me it means most is that to be able to decide how you are going to lean you have to firstly have your set of non negotiables, and then be at the metaphorical table to decide how to respond.