Six of our best Ambition:Feed moments

Feb. 5, 2019

Ambition School Leadership and the Institute for Teaching

In 2018 we launched Ambition:Feed.

Our challenge: to address the most pressing issues faced by educators today, inviting inspiring teachers and school leaders from our network to share what works for them. Through podcasts, blogs and social media, leaders set the agenda and tackled a new education challenge every month, crowd-sourcing the latest thinking and honest discussion from around the UK.

The themes were all chosen by you and ranged from developing others to managing workload, with many more in between.

The response has been brilliant and, to bring Ambition:Feed to a close, we wanted to share some of our highlights from the last twelve months.

1. Our first ever podcast

The first episode of the Ambiton:Feed Podcast was recorded in Manchester, featuring Rowena Kidd, Assistant Head at Stretford High, and Stephen Garvey, Associate Deputy Head at All Saints Catholic College. They discussed strategies for raising aspirations, including working with feeder schools and the local community, establishing a conducive culture and taking inspiration from the schools around them.


2. Our most read blogs

In May, Patrick Ottley O’Connor wrote a brilliant blog sharing five characteristics of great coaching for our ‘Developing Others’ theme, drawing on his 31 years’ experience in education. There were more great tips on offer in Martin Atkinson's 'School Culture and Ethos' post on ensuring buy-in for your school culture and in Will Swaithes' 'Pupil Wellbeing' discussion about improving PE provision

We were also privileged to share personal stories from some of our leaders, including this inspiring read from Deputy Headteacher Chris Richards on coming out as a leader for the 'Promoting Equality' challenge.

3. Joining forces with the Institute for Teaching

In July, we announced our intention to merge with the Institute for Teaching, with a shared mission to support the development of teachers and school leaders working in disadvantaged contexts. 

For our ‘Managing Workload’ theme, Susie Fraser, IfT alumni and Vice Principal at Manchester Communication Academy, shared how she achieved the best work-life balance of her career in a blog titled: Is work-life balance a myth?

4. Launching our EDI campaign

In October, we launched ‘Under Construction’, our campaign to address equality, diversity and inclusion in education. 

In this video we heard from our 2018 Teaching Leaders on what this means to them, and in the podcast we heard from #LGBTed co-founder Hannah Jepson and Deputy Headteacher of Oasis Academy Shirley Park Saqib Chaudhri on the responsibility of educators to recognise and promote diversity in the schools they work in. 

Hannah and Saqib

5. A story of transformation

Craig D’Cunha, Principal of Chantry Academy, shared how his school lost the trust of its community when it was placed in special measures and how, through a parental engagement strategy, he and his school were able to turn this around, coming out of special measures and regaining the trust of parents. 

Today, the school boasts an incredible statistic of 96% of parents recommending them on Parent View. A fantastic achievement. 

6. A revolutionary poem

Finally, a big thank you to Charlotte Pywell, Associate SLT at Unity City Academy in Middlesborough, whose blog about empowering female pupils at her school included this touching poem from a pupil in her Year 9 class:

Not like a bear or tiger,
But being brave enough to live in the world we do.
Told when young, That we aren’t indestructible,
We’re delicate like a daisy

Or withering petal.

But dear those who follow the norm,
Those who shun out the different,
Those who after protest and war still put others down to raise themselves up.
They aren’t fearless

But we are. And we can be.

We can change their minds.
The minds that praise hate and war
Self-centred thoughts that seek gender inequality and a white-washed world.

We can be the ones that turn the few to the many
Making all sexualities, races, religions and genders visible.
So that even those who are blind can see them,

Because we should all be told that:
‘Loving yourself in a world that profits from your self-doubt is a radical act.’

Leona, Year 9

Thank you to everyone who joined discussions, shared stories and exchanged knowledge as part of this insightful and inspiring campaign. 

This article originally appeared on the website of Ambition School Leadership. In March 2019 the Institute for Teaching merged with Ambition School Leadership to form Ambition Institute.

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