Tuesday Humby reflects on the ongoing learning the programme has provided.
I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher. But it was not until beginning my career that the overall moral purpose – the desire to make things better for those who start from a position of disadvantage – became my foremost ambition.
A big part of this journey was being accepted onto the Future Leaders programme in 2010. Although this feels like a very long time ago now, I still use aspects of the l training I received every single day. Whether it is having difficult conversations, developing a team, or remembering to look at something conceptually as well as analytically, the programme has been instrumental in accelerating my professional development.
Eight years on, I’ve now been Executive Principal at Ormiston Academies Trust for four years. Alongside this role, in 2017 I was appointed as the trust’s Regional Director for the North.
Here are some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned.
advice to anyone considering headship is: don’t wait until you feel ready to
take the plunge because you never will be! You can never really know what’s
coming until you sit in that chair. That’s why I believe it’s always good idea
to be constantly thinking about what’s missing in terms of your experience. For
example, if you have been solely based in pastoral, then you should take some
time to shadow the teaching and leadership team, even if they are junior to you
in the school hierarchy. After all, it helps to be humble and hands-on wherever
possible as this is how you can really learn and develop yourself.
- Secondly, don’t become the head who is always
complaining about how hard the job is. As a school leader, you are the role
model for the whole community and you need to maintain your energy to support
the entire school. Headship is a brilliant job but of course it can be
isolating at the top. Therefore, I believe that it is hugely important to have
the support of a coach or mentor who is external to your school. My coach
whilst on the Future Leaders programme remains supporting me to this day and
has been a great asset to access.
- One thing I wish I’d known before becoming a
headteacher is that there is always someone in your school who will have the
answer to your question. Tap into your people and your resources and incredible
things will happen! There will be people in your school who are better at
things than you are – my advice is to let them be. Instead, concentrate on what
you’re good at and make a point of knowing every child in your school. It’s
often all too easy to get side-tracked with the ‘other stuff’, however there is
nothing more important than being out in the classrooms supporting teaching and
The Future Leaders programme taught me to be brave. Not only was the training transformational, I made some lifelong friends along the way. Eight years on, I still describe myself as a Future Leader and consider the programme to be the best leadership development training I’ve had.