First headship

by Emma Grundy @MsGundry

I am at the end of week 3 of my first headship and it is both better and worse than I’d imagined.

After 19 years in mainstream, my move into headship also saw me move into alternative provision, starting as the principal in a PRU. The students I now work with are incredibly vulnerable, facing challenges born of poverty, undiagnosed SEND, trauma and neglect, making it understandably difficult to quickly build relationships with them. That’s the worse bit.  However, the brilliant staff, I am now lucky to lead, are all united by a commitment to help these students achieve more than their experiences lead them to believe are possible. That’s the better bit. Every adult I’ve talked to over the last 3 weeks are positive and hopeful, seeing the good in young people who can hide that well.

I’m already discovering that headship is a lonely role, and so I am lucky to have a strong professional network of ex-colleagues, friends and participants of a recently completed Aspiring Heads course. This network is building through the power of twitter; I also now have support from people I’ve not met in real life, who have generously shared their AP knowledge and experience.

So… my advice for what is it is worth – find the good in your school, don’t do it alone and keep your reservoir of hope full. I remain indebted to the late, great Rita Pierson who reminded us that, whilst the job is tough, “we’re educators and we were born to make a difference”. It is this that will keep me going through the tough times.

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