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Luke Butterworth, Wandsworth Prep School

My experience of the Emerging Leaders Programme

My name is Luke Butterworth, and I teach in Year 2 at Wandsworth Prep School. 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 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 has provided a fantastic opportunity to interact with fellow professionals on all levels. The sessions have 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 have 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 Bridget Saul, Headteacher at Wandsworth Prep School. All of these have been incredibly useful and I will be taking all that I have learnt from them with me into the new 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!

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Phil Smith

Norfolk House School

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