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06 September 2021

The Monday Briefing: Another part of me

The Monday Briefing: Another part of me

I’m sure there comes a time for every Principal where the school or college in which they lead feels ‘theirs’. That feeling, an excellent one incidentally, came for me at student induction last week.

The College has lived a relatively short life when compared to some other institutions. Having only been in existence since 1996, I am only the third headteacher to take on leadership here. My predecessor, Dr Ian Moores, was at the helm for the best part of twenty years, and so a great deal of his influence and personality came to characterise the look and feel of Ealing Independent College.

Last Friday, it was starting to become abundantly clear, to me at least, that my character was now becoming prevalent in almost all aspects here:

During a continuing professional development session which I attended a few years back as part of the Bellevue Education Emerging Leaders course, there was a very clear message from the CEO, Mark Malley, about the importance of getting the right people ‘on the bus’. Looking around the staff body, I can now say, confidently, that not only are the personnel who I want them to be, but the destination is set right, and we are motoring along productively and harmoniously. Many of the staff here are now my appointments, and those here before my time clearly hold similar ideas about education and how teaching and learning should take place. It heartens me that everyone, metaphorically, speaks the same language and sings from the same hymn sheet. Only with such circumstances, can things be driven forward at pace.

Meeting the vast majority of the student body on Friday was really quite exciting. From the start, they have come across as polite, keen to better themselves and motivated to make an impact. The most pleasing aspect, perhaps, is their individuality. Seeing students express themselves, whether smartly, or more casually or, for that matter, with newly dyed pink hair, spoke of a College where those who come here are comfortable with who they are and happy to show it in the surroundings. The lack of rigidity and formality is a strength, where limitation and restriction should not come into their thoughts. They can be who they want to be, as long as they exercise good conduct, full effort and get here, on time. I spoke to them about the importance of time - of awareness that they’ve lost so much of it over the last 18 months, but also about the fact that it is now the time to make the best of it.

Finally, our building is starting to look a little more how I’d want it to. The corridors and hallways have large photos of our students, both current and former, displaying just the characteristics which I’ve described above. Happiness in learning and comfort within themselves, and that’s the culture which I want to permeate the environment here. I want to see students making the most of their time here and playing a leading role in its development. Only when such a culture is embedded can the College truly live up to our plan: to empower students to become the very best versions of themselves that they can be; to grow in confidence and capabilities; to demonstrate their readiness for the next stages of their lives. I want them to undergo such processes, through their formative years, here. I don’t believe there is a better place.

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