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In their shoes - Headteacher

headteacher advice

In this series of blogs we aim to give you a brief insight into the many roles within education.

This week Liam Powell from Manor High School in Oadby, Leicester lets us in to a day in the life of a Headteacher.


Tell us about your job

I lead a large secondary school of 940 students. The school is big enough to offer a rich and varied curriculum and small enough to offer personalised care and learning to every student. This is my fifth year in the role and the time has flown by. Our school is built upon four core values and these underpin all activity within the school. They are excellence, inspiration, care and respect.

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My job is to ensure that the school follows these values and that everyone in the school (staff and students) is able to develop their leadership skills. Every post-holder has the opportunity to try new things and be brave. This is how I was able to thrive and it is what I expect in others.

I am keen to ensure that the school, which has a deserved reputation for academic excellence, is also a place of fun and creativity, offering the children lots of variety in their lives. As a parent of two boys, I am able to see the role from both sides and this helps to keep my feet firmly on the ground.

Tell us about a typical day at work

There is no typical day and this is what makes it so rewarding. I get to work as early as possible which gives me a head start and enables me to catch up and plan out the day ahead. Throughout the day, a series of meetings, observations, duties and more are interspersed with events which are different each day and could not be anticipated.

Leadership is about getting the job done well, managing and delegating and empowering others to perform to their best.

I am privileged to work with some of the strongest teams in any school and so there is a lot of communication and sharing of information and ideas. At the end of the day, it is amazing to look back at how much occurred and achieved. Visits to the gym, cycling or walking enable me to reflect and recharge the batteries for the next day.

What do you enjoy most about your role as Headteacher?

My job is the best in the world and I love it. The role of Headteacher has changed enormously in the last 20 years with a series of reforms and significant changes in national policy. I have worked in schools for 23 years and in that time, I have seen the education system improve year upon year. Students, teachers and parents are working harder than ever to secure the best outcomes for everyone.

Every day is different. I arrive at about 7.30 each morning and the next time I look up, it is the evening. During intense period of work, it is always refreshing to spend time with the students and to listen to them. Through their feedback, we are able to make continuous and frequent improvements to our excellent school.

What do you find challenging?

During periods of rapid change to the educational landscape, the relationship between schools changes. There is more choice and competition in the system and one of the challenges is to find like-minded partners to work in close collaboration in the interests of the children and the community. Manor High School works with a wide range of excellent schools and through a series of partnerships, we are able to grow stronger together.

How did you get into teaching?

I am passionate about history which is my first subject. I have taught others but this is the one in which I was able to develop the sense of understanding, empathy, change and continuity.

As a subject, history is sometimes side-lined but the old adage tells us that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. In each family holiday, I would try to visit places of historical significance and then spread the learning through my lessons. Now I am able to do this through my assemblies. Being genuinely enthusiastic about learning means that I can inspire others to go and learn more for themselves.

What advice would you give anyone thinking about a future in teaching?

Go for it! There is nothing more rewarding than instilling knowledge, skills and understanding into future generations. It is never boring, you will never watch the clock, you will wonder where time has gone, you will be busy and tired but you will enjoy the humour and the energy. It is not like any other job and you have to work in teaching to fully understand it but it is a privilege and an honour to work with young people.

The job is what you make it. Having worked in a number of settings in a wide range of schools, the main thing to remember is that you are making a difference. Try to be inspired by others, listen to advice, use the support available and aim to be a great role model for the students. You will never regret your career choice.

Hays Education work with schools and academies nationwide to give you access to the very latest interim and permanent leadership jobs which include Headteacher, Principal, Deputy Headteacher, Assistant Headteacher, Interim Headteacher and Interim Deputy Headteacher jobs.

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