WomenEd Blogs

Choose to Challenge - #IWD2021

 by Anna Ambrose  @AnnaAmbrose

On Friday 6th March, 2021, I noticed a thing on my Facebook feed. It was the last day (for now at least, fingers crossed) of home-schooling for families in England. And men were busy thanking their amazing wives* for home-schooling their children. There were gifts. Flowers. Champagne. The works. How lovely.

[*Obviously not everyone is married. But these posts were genuinely all about wives, so I may over-use the word in what follows.]

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‘Concentrate on Being a Mum’

by Jo Pellereau @PhysicsJo

I am blessed to have two wonderful children, both the result of gruelling IVF procedures and following pregnancies dotted with the stress of hyperemesis, blood loss and a bout of post natal depression following the birth of my second child. The impact on my wellbeing and the toll it took at work is my primary motivation for undertaking a PhD in Education looking at fertility issues and how schools handle them.

Despite these challenges, at no point in the past almost 4 years have I considered my career to be over or even paused. It has taken a different direction than I thought, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have importance to me or to my sense of identity. In fact in many ways my commitment to education has been increased by my new identity as a mother.

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Being 10% Braver: #IAmWriting.

by Vivienne Porritt @ViviennePorritt

We started WomenEd because women's voices on twitter were often silenced, harrassed or our views were not valued. It's one of the reasons we included a mic in our logo. So we encouraged women to tweet and to write blogs to tell our stories and share our lived experience. 

One of the reasons we wrote 10%braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education was to ensure the voices of our community reached women who are not on twitter. And over 30 voices are included in Being 10% Braver which, joyously, is published this December - you can pre-order and it's a great Christmas present! And we are delighted to share more opportunities for our community to write and to be heard.

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My Unconference

By Kaley Riley @MrsRileyEng

It’s the Monday in the week before #WomenEd, and already I am beginning to question whether I should really be giving up a precious Saturday with my daughter and husband (who works every other weekend). The guilt is already setting in. I’m feeling run down; I could really do with the whole weekend not doing much; it’s my Nana’s birthday and I really shouldn’t be going out and not seeing her (even though she 100% already has plans); I won’t get back until just before bedtime…

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Follow the empathy road: #BrewEd Herts

by Ginny Bootman @sencogirl (Senior Leader & SENCO)

I set off with some trepidation as I left the sunny climes of Northamptonshire to be part of my first #BrewEdHerts event. I was a lone wolf taking it on alone.

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The courage in encourage

by Emma Turner @Emma_Turner75

As people and teachers, we all need encouragement. We need encouragement to rise out of comfy beds, to start our days, to take those first steps or to take on new challenges. We need encouragement to keep on going when things aren’t progressing as smoothly as we’d like or might have anticipated and we need encouragement to believe in ourselves and our decisions.

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Know we are enough

by Julie Ricketts @DOpsSBL (ISBL Fellow)


The beginning of October saw my three-year anniversary working as a School Business Leader – an anniversary I never thought would arrive. Not because I don’t love what I do, but more that I had made a decision some years ago that my school-based career days were over, and it was time to try something new.

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The dreaded letter

by Anonymous

The dreaded letter…. Turning twenty five was a big deal for me. I mean, I was turning a quarter of a century old. But along with gifts from family and friends, turning twenty five brings another little present for women up and down the country. The dreaded letter.

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'But don't you miss her, Miss?'

by Kaley Louise @MrsRileyEng

Since returning to work, from maternity leave, I have been asked- numerous times- ‘How do you do it?’, ‘Don’t you miss her?’, ‘Are you afraid you’ll miss out on something precious?’ and questions of their kin, numerous times. But always by adults.  Until today.

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Motivation

by Jill Berry @JillBerry102

On Sunday 12th January 2020, the wonderful Caroline Spalding led an #SLTchat discussion on the subject of Motivation, and this made me thoughtful. I’ve mentioned motivation in a number of blog posts, but have never written a post specifically focussed on the subject. Until today.

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Interviews: Grill them, grilling you.

by Kaley Riley @MrsRileyEnglish


On Friday, I attended an interview. On arrival, the other candidates and I got chatting. We all spoke about our current roles, why we had applied and the usual, tense pre-interview small talk amongst competitors who are- essentially- trying to scope one another out. I mentioned, as part of this small talk, that I had applied a year ago for the same school, and a similar role, but was unsuccessful. I could see their surprise. 

‘Oh really? Why were you not appointed?’  ‘It is very brave to apply again after getting knocked back!’

They were right. It was brave, but it was also telling of my commitment to wanting the role (albeit, this time around, much more senior), my resilience and of my sheer dogged determination.

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The reality of being a woman serving headteacher in the UK

By Jill Berry @JillBerry102

On Saturday 12th September 2020, #WomenEd ran a webinar on the subject of what it is currently like to be a woman serving head in this country. The webinar was ably hosted by the wonderful Keziah Featherstone (@keziah70) and featured eleven practising school leaders:

Nav Sanghara (@NavSanghara), Caroline Derbyshire (@Morsecat), Helena Marsh (@HelenaMarsh81), Binks Neate-Evans (@BinksNeateEvans), Helen Keenan (@hbkeenan), Christalla Jamil @ChristallaJ), Allana Gay (@AllanaG13), Caroline Barlow (@BarlowCaroline), Mareme Mufwoko (@MMufwoko), Ruth Whymark (@ruth_whymark) and Claire Price (@ClairePrice1). It was a superb event.

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So-ing and Patchwork Part 1.

by Emma Turner @Emma_Turner75

I am a mother of three small children and I work flexibly, part time, in education. Now read that sentence back.

How many read the word, 'and' but heard or inferred 'so'? How many inferred that I work flexibly because of my children rather than the flexible working setup being seen as separate and unconnected and a proactive rather than a reactive choice? For too long and across too many aspects of our education sector (and our lives) our flexible workers’ choices are attributed a 'so' rather than an 'and. It is almost as if flexible working needs to be excused or explained by being prefaced by a reason for its very existence and accompanied by an unrequested but seemingly necessary apology for not working full time or in a traditional working pattern.

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So-ing and Patchwork Part 2.

by Emma Turner @Emma_Turner75

Flexible working needs modelling at all levels of responsibility, and if we are to avoid so-ing, then leaders have a duty to analyse who their flexible workers are and to see if they are representative of all levels, pay grades and responsibilities across their organisations. If we are to see flex as a realistic and aspirational model then it needs modelling at all career stages and in all roles. Flexible working should be seen as just that, flexible; it should be seen as a chance to shape, mould and develop existing norms and to innovate. It should not be seen as a second rate option to the premier glory of full time. It should also not be associated with specific levels of responsibility or roles.

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Vice Principal to Mum and back again

by Lorraine Walker @LWalkerTeach

 

'Half (51%) of employers agree that there is sometimes resentment amongst employees towards women who are pregnant or on maternity leave.' (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2018)

I (shamefully) admit to previously having jealous thoughts towards staff who left work on time, arrived on time, didn’t participate in evening events, confidently declined summer school classes, and received a year off work.

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