Here at Wandsworth Prep, we recognise that our staff are fundamental in enabling us to provide an exceptional learning experience for our pupils. One of the benefits of being part of Bellevue Education is the professional development opportunities available to staff. Luke Butterworth, Head of Middle School and Year 2 teacher, took part in Bellevue Education's Emerging Leaders programme. Read Luke's account of his experience, below.
I joined the school in September 2016 and was fortunate enough to be presented with the opportunity to participate in the Emerging Leaders course. The course, which took place last academic year, was attended by colleagues from a variety of schools within the group and included Class Teachers, Key Stage Leaders, Head Teachers and staff from Bellevue Head Office. It provided a fantastic opportunity to interact with fellow professionals on all levels. The sessions combined informal discussions led by leaders within the group, practical workshops involving role play, and educational theory linking to ways to improve our practice. We also had sessions focused on self-reflection, leadership theory and how to use data effectively.
I particularly enjoyed the informal group discussions which were an integral part of each session, where everyone was able to share ideas, good practice, common challenges, leadership experience and consider issues which arise when working in education. As a Class Teacher working in a small school, it was reassuring to learn that my colleagues face similar challenges. I have learnt a great deal from these conversations and feel better equipped as an emerging leader.
The first session at Bellevue Head Office was led by Rick Hyde, Headteacher at Forest Preparatory School, who took us through ‘what makes an effective leader’, which entailed in-depth discussion and analysis of different leadership styles and personality types. We then reviewed this in relation to a particular leader who has inspired us. This session made me aware of the effective leadership I already execute and provided a range of ideas in developing my leadership style and overall effectiveness.
Linking with the previous session, we were asked to complete a Q20, an anonymous questionnaire which I sent to current and previous work colleagues. Leadership qualities across a broad range of subjects - from organisation to emotional intelligence - were rated and the purpose of this process was to identify my strengths and weaknesses. We then compared the results to my own perception. This was an incredibly insightful process and I have been able to think reflectively on how to improve my practice in becoming a more effective leader.
The course has provided many insightful learning opportunities. Other significant sessions with Steven Wade, Bellevue’s Schools Director, and Mark Hammond, Headteacher of Skippers Hill Manor Prep School, have focussed on educational theory and developing capacity. Data analysis was also lead by our Headteacher, Bridget Saul. All of these have been incredibly useful and I will be taking all that I have learnt from them with me into this academic year.
During the six years I have been in working in education, the Emerging Leaders Course has been the most valuable professional development course I have taken part in. I have learnt an immeasurable amount throughout the process and have been lucky enough to meet some fantastic colleagues. I now look forward to putting it all into practice!