As a new head sitting in the staffroom I particularly remember a few conversations. This is one. An experienced and outstanding colleague (who's still there & v valued) said 'oh I remember this deputy in one school I worked in that had a swift rise to the top. She sent a memo to us all one day about children swearing & we laughed our heads off as she'd written FOWL language' much chuckling & sideways glances at which lightening here replies 'what did the kids say? Ducking hell?' No one laughs. Bit of tumbleweed blows by...
Anyway I tied my boots to the kitchen floor on this one. I have stayed and learned in this school. I've listened properly. Put proper work in. Kept folders, asked for help, admitted when I messed things up, took control when they wanted me to. Learned how to tell our story so they all really know how good our school is and we don't have HMI in every 6 months. Showed them that if anyone visits they get sent over to ask what they think. I'm no me without them. I'm no hero leader.
I just needed to work a bit harder. I find the people stuff & the behaviour stuff really doable, I won't say easy as it takes an emotional toll, but doable. I got promoted up & up in tough schools just because of that and teaching well. I'm not doing that down of course but as a head I needed to learn the craft of school improvement.
I've been headteacher of Worth Primary School in Kent for seven years now. I'm not done learning and never will be. I am surrounded by colleagues, children, parents, governors and families that teach me more every day. I am now able to be the consistent leader I've always wanted to be. Just up to me to step up every day. It's took me five years to be good though. Induction to this job is woeful. My advice is use the money (if there still is any) for personal coaching. I have a couple of recommendations, do ask! Lots of heads in this county don't last past their second year. Lots of deputies don't aspire to be heads. If that's you and you're reading this please get in touch.
It's such the best job though. I went out last night, relatively rare! At one point I hadn't seen my friend for a while. Found him outside chatting to a group of people. I start chatting too then realise I taught one of them age 4! It was my ex pupil that realised, who is now 20. Said in front of all mates how much had loved it in my class. Then took me aside later and thanked me for how much I'd supported self, mum & sibling when their dad left when in my class. Even rang mum with me there to tell her was with me! I heard my ex pupil repeat back 'yeah, she's still Head at Worth' that mum followed my career then. Says it all.