Leadership legacy fellow Heidi Loveland, Business and Economics Teacher and Whole School Lead of Initial Teacher Training at Haydon School tells us about different aspects of her experience being involved in SSAT’s Leadership Legacy Project and what she gained from participating.
As a swimmer, my coach always said to me: “Heidi always think: I shall, I will, I can, in anything you do.” This is something that has resonated with me since and has been in my thoughts throughout the Leadership Legacy Project (LLP).
I SHALL do the SSAT LLP
One of the key differences between a teacher and a competitive swimmer is that the swimmer trains, practices, asks questions, gets feedback and improves what they are trying to achieve prior to their race. Teachers often do not get this opportunity as feedback is usually given after the lesson (their race). This is something I’m working on in my school through my work with the NQTs and Trainees however I actively look out for opportunities which will help me to learn and gain experience prior to being in situations prior to being in situations where the experience matters the most. This meant when I read about the project through reading SSAT information prior to the start of the programme I jumped at the opportunity to apply. The programme provides such a rare opportunity in teaching to gain real experience whilst encouraging you to stop and reflect on your practice through your Think Piece.
I WILL take every opportunity
Take every opportunity from the beginning
I did not hesitate to start making the most of every opportunity once accepted on the programme. I could not even wait till the launch date to start thinking about my ‘Think Piece’ and what I wanted to try and achieve in my practice. It made it easier to focus at the launch event because as the speakers were saying how the year-long project would work I could start to picture my idea and how it might come to life that year. It also meant that I was immediately able to share opinions and ideas with other Leadership Legacy Fellows at my table and find out whether there were any similarities with what was going on at their schools.
Start thinking about what you want to know
I also started to think about what I might want to achieve next in my career. I have not done a typical development route – going from: Head of KS5 High Achieving Pupils (HAPS), in my NQT Year, to Head of KS3 (HAPS) and finally to Whole School Lead of Initial Teacher Training. I know I want my next step to be Assistant Head but I wanted to ask questions about how to get there and how to take that next step. I also needed to be open to listening to ideas and if anyone else had any other suggestions. The opportunity to listen and start thinking came from the Launch event. The range of speakers in the ‘Leadership Insight’ part of the launch and also at the SSAT National Conference (Fighting for Deep Social Justice) really inspired me. The key thing I took away from all the speakers that day is that you have to decide what your non-negotiables are and stick to them always!
There is an abundance of networking opportunities throughout the year. Just ask questions and ask for support. Not only can you share experiences but hopefully you will build relationships which will allow you to share best practice and create links between your schools for years. One example is I have now organised a ‘Covid Safe’ Virtual Teach Meet with a contact who I would never have met had it not been for the networking opportunity provided by the Leadership Legacy Project.
Shadowing Senior Leadership for a day at another school and Leadership Expert Meetings
I was lucky enough to be invited to Bentley Wood School for a day of shadowing SLT. Being submersed in another school is an experience which you should 100% take. It was brilliant being able to actively engage and see what was going on especially as I feel the main staff body only sees part of the job SLT do. It was also another opportunity to network. The Leadership Expert Meetings were also brilliant in that I heard another journey and story from another Head Teacher from Langley Grammar School and felt he gave us the opportunity to ask questions which otherwise we would never have asked.
This programme has been such an opportunity and the benefits cannot be truly captured in 700 words. It has given me the confidence to stride for the next step and made me aware of the importance of stopping and reflecting on my practice. Above all it has reconfirmed my belief that I am privileged to be in the job I am in, and I hope one day I will have a story that will inspire others.
If you have any questions or would like to connect with Heidi; don’t hesitate to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.