At the end of November PaJeS convened a 24-hour residential seminar for Headteachers, sponsored by UJIA Ashdown. 28 Heads attended – a remarkable number considering how busy they are. They represented a wide spectrum of schools, both secondary and primary, and came from different strands of the community. The aim of the seminar was to give Heads time away from the multitude of urgent issues on their desks and instead to reflect on the important challenges facing schools in the future and look at how we could address these through collaboration and partnerships. It was also intended as an opportunity to meet other Heads in a relaxed setting.
Animated discussions took place on the current challenges faced by schools and the key areas that Heads feel the community needs to focus upon. Among these were recruitment and retention of teachers, teacher training, leadership development and succession planning and mental health issues. There was recognition that schools needed to work together in order to meet these challenges, and PaJeS will be forming working parties to consider these issues further and explore possible resolution strategies.
The group was privileged to be joined by two outstanding guest speakers. Brett Wigdortz, founder and CEO of Teach First, talked about the extraordinary impact the organization has had on recruitment of teachers. He stressed that their success is based on the clear moral purpose, values and vision that are at the heart of what they do, as well as on the excellent mentoring and support that their trainees receive. Anthony Wagerman CEO of Travelex, talked about the Headteacher as CEO and what they might learn from the corporate world. He gave a remarkable insight into his role and how it might relate to that of Heads.
Heads very much appreciated the time with one another and a considerable number of them made a commitment to continuing to work together and with PaJeS on some of the issues raised.