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Jamie Portman Holgate School & Sports College The context of Jamie Portman’s case study is based upon the last 7 years of his professional career, and is based around 3 themes. Challenge “The first of my themes is about CHALLENGE I’ve been incredibly happy at Holgate for the last 7 years: it’s a place where I have a strong sense of belonging and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working there. However, this enjoyment has been accompanied with ‘comfort’ for quite a while now – and for me, to be the very best that I can be - I have to leave such feelings of comfort behind in order to challenge myself. In my new role as Assistant Headteacher at Campsmount College in North Doncaster I realise that I’ll be starting from scratch not only in a new school but also in a new Local Authority. I’m leaving behind for example Dave the Caretaker who fixes things for me at the drop of a hat and Sheila the dinner lady who always saves me the corner piece of the meat and potato pie. But essentially, for me, aspiring to leadership is all about challenging yourself. Instead of positive feelings associated with comfort, I’m replacing them with anxiety, discomfort and increasingly as the time grows closer: PANIC However, in saying this, I have a certain level of self-belief because of what I have learned in my roles at Holgate. x NQT year: History and Inclusion centre x 2nd year: Initial Teacher Training Co-ordinator x 3rd year: Head of the History Dept x 4th year: AST Most recently Head of House and then Assistant Head at Campsmount college And by self belief I do NOT mean, and this is something that I have sometimes struggled with, an arrogant self belief where you are always right. An example of this could be Brian Clough’s quote of: “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job”. Instead, I place emphasis upon a self belief that has resulted from taking advantage of the ways that in which Holgate work, and by this I mean taking part in a variety of voluntary working groups (some rather more exciting than others): I’ve contributed to assessment policy reviews, teaching and learning pilots, literacy and communication groups, guidance package meetings regarding rewards and sanctions, learning enquiry walks for SEN & literacy, AFL initiatives, developing the 21st century Learner and reporting to parent reviews. At Local Authority level I’ve led INSET sessions for the last 4 years on various things ranging from higher order thinking skills to personalisation, from AFL to ICT. I’ve been involved in transforming learning projects via Jeremy Abrahams’ learning stars, and I’ve built up a network of colleagues right across the LA’s teaching staff, Headteachers and those in more strategic roles. My key message behind this very boring list is: take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you with regards to upskilling yourself and your own professional learning. JFK once said that…. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” And it’s this philosophy that has accompanied me throughout my nearly 7 years of teaching. Continuing the theme – I MYSELF have been continually challenged throughout my career. Sometimes frustratingly so - I have wanted to push things through with venom, pace and impact but sometimes others have needed to challenge me in order to make me think things through properly. Realise that it’s not them trying to be difficult (although it sometimes feels that way) but more about an attempt to make you consider your actions in a more thoughtful way.

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case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case On the flip side - challenge those around you. Challenge their thinking by introducing new ideas and new approaches to learning. Present alternatives to existing problems and challenge the status quo where it needs to be challenged. For me, I need to push myself in directions that push me in terms of my own professional learning. In October of 2008 I responded to an advert that was placed in Holgate’s bulletin about attending Leadership Team meetings as an observer. Initially, I think I was the only one to respond and to my surprise 2 weeks later OFSTED came. During their visit I have never seen anything quite like how Jacqui Rothery commanded her team: pace, motivational speeches, strategies, knowing the data inside out, forward planning etc. I was also incredibly impressed with the way that her team stepped up to the mark and delivered on every level. After the initial observational period Jacqui asked me if I’d like to attend regularly and being part of Holgate’s extended leadership team has been instrumental in developing my understanding of whole school issues beyond teaching and learning. It’s been an experience that you simply cannot buy, and one that has elevated my understanding to tremendous new heights. I strongly recommend that headteachers here today offer such opportunities for people to attend their leadership team meetings – and in turn I also recommend that aspirant leaders take advantage of such opportunities because people’s understanding of whole school issues is dramatically enhanced. To sum up this theme - I wholehearted believe that the notion of challenging yourself means that you won’t settle for second best. Do not be prepared to fill out an application form for a job in a school just because you have an itch to move up the career ladder. Upskill yourself and be in a position where you can aspire to the dizzy heights of YOUR next step. And to me the step of Assistant Head is a massive one – yet ultimately one that I feel ready for because of the development that I have had. To misquote Barack Obama, to misquote him and at the risk of sounding cheesy for me its always been about ‘Yes YOU can”. My 2nd theme is all about nurturing talent.

‘be in a position where you can aspire to the dizzy heights of YOUR next step’

Nurturing Talent I ask senior leaders present here today: in what ways do you role model the ethos of your institution and your own beliefs to those that you work with? Also - how do you act as a Mentor or Coach for those colleagues that aspire to lead? How do you distil your experiences, skills and attributes in ways that have an impact on your colleagues? I have been fortunate to work within an environment where such consideration is central to every way of working with regards to middle leaders. Informal mentors and coaches exist right across Holgate. I have benefited enormously from a coach who questions my actions, probes for clarity, gives advice but more importantly encourages me to reflect and to seek out answers for myself. My talent, if I’ve got any, has been thoroughly nurtured throughout my time as a teacher, and its something that I am extremely grateful for. One of the key roles for Headteachers has to be of course that of talent spotting. I've mentioned some of the ways in which I’ve been nurtured but I want to take it a step further by offering advice to aspiring leaders. My advice is with regards to responsibility to develop yourself: Read, talk, challenge, reflect, network - build relations across your school and across the LA, take calculated risks, innovate, seek advice, seek that mentor or coach. I hear demands from some colleagues about CPD as though it is something that is done to you. Yes: part of CPD is about that but I am a big believer in Continual Professional Development as something that is also done by you - to you. Focusing on Headteachers - Eleanor Roosevelt said: “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves” Give those people that have potential opportunities to lead on whole school initiatives and develop that confidence in themselves. Give them the freedom to lead but with support built in where, for example, that person can quickly 'pop in' to run that something past them, or to ask for that 'once-over' to make sure that a document makes sense. This has been another common aspect of my career.

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case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case study case I have been given those opportunities to take on and develop whole school initiatives re: OFSTED areas for improvement and for improving Teaching and Learning across the entire school - just as other middle leaders at Holgate have and, at times, it’s bloody scary. You are the one sticking your head above the parapet but they are authentic leadership experiences where capacity is built and colleagues are developed. I would like to think that these experiences have had an impact on Holgate, but they have also undoubtedly had an impact upon me. But I am not a one-off: Holgate develops middle leaders in this way and those middle leaders deliver as a result. Ultimately, I think that it's all about investment: not just financial in order to attend the Leading from the Middle course or Leadership Pathways but an investment in time. And by that I don’t mean giving people days off – instead, have those quality conversations with people where ideas are discussed and ways forward are explored. I may be leaving Holgate but capacity is in place to replace me and that has to be the key for succession planning: its not just about developing one person like me - its about developing people in your institution as a matter of discourse and everyday practice. When one leaves - capacity exists to replace any gaps that may have been left. I would like to finish with my final theme of values and principles.

‘We are not teaching the pupils in our care to win pub quizzes or to create exam-making machines’

Values and Principles Working with Jacqui Rothery, Steve Manderson and the leadership team at Holgate has been nothing short of inspirational. There is no doubt that I am a product of my environment – and that environment is Holgate School and Barnsley Local Authority. Diane Heritage used to lead AST development and her input was inspirational too. She made me realise that sometimes we argue about our different beliefs of moving forward in education because, and I quote, “we are working with such a precious commodity”. And that is what makes us unique from the vast majority of other working environments across the UK. What lies at the heart of Jacqui’s strategies, planning and thinking are her own values and principles. Jacqui is absolutely passionate about ensuring that every single pupil is not left behind, treated differently or neglected due to any particular needs that they have. And this has had a massive impact on me. My own values and principles have developed and matured immensely during my time at Holgate and they are something that I shall never stray away from. My questions to aspiring colleagues here today are - what are your values and principles? How do they shape you as a professional and how will they impact upon the choices that you make as you move forward in your career? In summary, I hope that the themes that I have briefly covered with regards to challenge, nurturing talent and values and principles go some way into giving you an insight into the journey that I have been on in the last 7 years. It’s clear that Leadership means different things to different people but I won’t go on about the ins and outs of it or the ideological arguments of so called 'strategic ways of working'. Instead, at the very centre of my belief of leadership is 'ensuring that all children, here in the 21st century, have the very best educational experience that there is to offer. We are not teaching the pupils in our care to win pub quizzes or to create exam-making machines that some educational establishments outside of this authority unfortunately strive to build. Instead, we are educating them to be able to cope, to thrive and to prosper out there in the real world. Here in Barnsley you are on the brink of something incredibly exciting: an opportunity to transform learning in a way that could never have been dreamt of only 10 years ago and the very foundations of these developments should be, for what its worth from me, be based upon your values and your principles. In all honesty: I am incredibly envious. To aspiring leaders present today I wish you the best of luck To my friends at Holgate: you’ve been amazing. Thanks for listening”.

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Jamie Portman Speech to Barnsley LA