Donald Shaw has been working as a teacher for 26 years. When he became depute headteacher, he decided to apply for the Into Headship course. Shortly after embarking on the course, he was appointed headteacher.

“The amazing thing about the course is that it has exactly the right balance of theory and practice. You have taught days at University where you have readings to do and pieces of work to prepare – but then you get to identify and study some form of change within your own setting, which makes the learning real.”

“Like so many others who have undertaken the course, confidence is one of the many learnings that the program gives aspiring headteachers. It’s the thinking time that this course gives you that is one of the major benefits. You learn to be a better leader. There is no doubt that everyone involved in the course notes an increase in confidence which, in turn, helps their leadership.”

“One of the most impactful things I learned was regarding the headteacher’s responsibility to build capacity in others. The biggest gain for me was the ability to rationalise decisions in-school using the learning from the course. Instead of just saying, ‘I’ve got a great idea, let’s do it’ to the staff, I can now say ‘I’ve researched this topic and here is the evidence that makes me think this is a great idea – let’s work on it together.
It’s also so inspiring that everyone on the course is there for one thing – to improve outcomes for young people – everything we do as teachers and leaders should have that goal in mind. “

Donald’s advice for a teacher looking to become a headteacher:
“I would say you just have to go for it, you won’t regret it.”

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