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Senior Leadership Programme: What It Takes to Be a Senior Leader

Senior Leadership Programme: What It Takes to Be a Senior Leader

Sharon Blinston is currently a Middle Leader for Outdoor Learning, RE and Equality, and Diversity and Inclusion. She completed United Learning’s Senior Leadership Programme and is now confident that senior leadership positions are more attainable.

“I have been at AKS Lytham, an independent school, for seven years, and previously taught in state schools for 14 years. I wanted to be able to network with people across United Learning as I think it’s important to meet other leaders and share best practice” said Sharon, talking about why she applied. “I also thought it would be a really good step from Middle Leadership to Senior Leadership.”

Describing her experience, Sharon said: “The sessions were encouraging, with people from different schools offering insights on a variety of topics. The motivating and inspiring others session was particularly beneficial in understanding the role of leadership. The session about appeals was informative – although we don’t have many of these at our school, it was good to see what happens in those situations. Another interesting session was about raising standards, in which a Headteacher shared their personal experience of a struggling school and what they did to turn it around.”

Sharon added: “The online sessions helped to formalise your own ideas, and you can share views and opinions on the topics covered in small groups in the breakout rooms. You can then prioritise what is important and relevant to your own school.”

Sharon gained an insight into what it takes to be a senior leader. She said: “Understanding how to be a high performing senior leader was thought-provoking. I’ve learned how to be recognised as a senior leader and the different ways to effectively motivate and inspire others. The programme also helped me consider my role as a future leader and what kind of leader I would like to be. It’s made me look at styles of leadership in a more informed way.”

Sharon elaborated further, saying: “The programme has given me some key points to consider which have enhanced my current knowledge. It has been a valuable experience to listen to other people’s stories and even though I have been teaching for many years, I now look at things differently with relevance to leadership expectations.”

“I am looking to move into senior leadership soon, if not now then definitely within the next couple of years,” said Sharon, reflecting on her goals for the future. “The programme has made me more aware of the next steps and the expectations of a leadership role. It has shown me aspects of leadership that I might not have previously considered, including the skills I currently have and some skills which could be enhanced so that I am ready to take that next step.”

Sharon has developed further leadership experience after completing the programme. She said: “I have completed some shadowing with the Senior Leadership team at my school, which I might not have considered doing without this programme. This has helped to give me an insight into what goes on at Deputy Head and Assistant Head level. I have also shared my learning from the programme with other staff, so it has benefitted other people in our school community - not just myself.”

The Senior Leadership Programme is open to both United Learning employees and external school staff.

If you’re interested in a career with United Learning, explore our current vacancies to see if there’s a role for you.

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