Welcome to the Stories of School Leadership podcast. 

The podcast shares the journeys, experiences and inspiration from leaders in education from the UK and across the world. Join me to explore the stories which shape the education sector today, the vulnerabilities and challenges that leaders are facing and their fascinating ideas for how we can move forward together.

You can watch the podcast episodes using the You Tube links below or listen via your preferred podcast channels: Podbean, Spotify, Apple Podcasts

Episode 16: Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini

In Episode 16 I’m joined by the brilliantly energetic Nancy Lhoest-Squicciarini sharing her journey in education. She shares her own experience of connection at school, I think a record for bringing my teary eyes at just 5 minutes in! Nancy’s energy is infectious, and her insights into facilitation are incredibly valuable. We explore creating and embedding norms into cultures, bringing fun to meetings and training with the value of human capital, and the impact of collectives where strong facilitators are at play. Nancy’s insights into the responsibilities and development of middle leaders show the global challenges faced by those in these roles. We touch on some big issues for leaders - why job descriptions are so important for middle leaders, middle leadership training and, when meetings should just be emails! This is a great episode to challenge thinking for leaders at all levels - How can we do better for middle leadership?

Episode 15 - Alex Neophitou

This episode touches on such a range of valuable topics. I’m joined by Alex Neophitou, former Senior Leader, now Freelance Education Consultant for his business New Education Outlook. As Alex shares his journey with incredible honesty, we explore how viewpoints of leadership evolve, finding joy in education and the importance of teams. He shares his decision making processes at key points in his educational career including trying to balance family life with leadership. Alex’s passion for curriculum shines through and we talk about subject leadership and how to manage the role when you’re not a specialist but seem to have landed a subject leader role sometimes off the back of a project you did in secondary school! I really enjoyed this discussion, you can tell because it’s over an hour long! But there’s so much value that Alex shares, I really hope you love it too

Episode 14 - Bob Benson

I’m joined by Headteacher Bob Benson, sharing his journey and insights spanning over 30 years in education. We talk about finding education and leadership when it wasn’t in the life plan, being a male leader in a girls school and championing the voices of women. Bob shares his pride in the impact his team has had supporting pupils in receipt of Pupil Premium funding, and the strategies they used. We discuss how educational leadership has changed and what needs to happen to make the role sustainable and joyful for future leaders.

Episode 13 - Stella Odusola

In this episode I’m joined by Stella Odusola, sharing her journey and experiences of the education system as a pupil and into her career in teaching and leadership. We explore barriers relating to gender, race and disability, and Stella shares some invaluable recommendations for leaders looking to reflect upon their recruitment and retention of staff. We explore leadership outside schools including as a Governor, Trustee and with external organisations and how, with bravery, change can be implemented for pupils, staff and leaders.

Episode 12 - Sadia Hussain-Savuk

This episode brings several vital conversations to the table. With the wonderful Sadia Hussain-Savuk we dig into racial prejudice, gender bias, glass ceilings and explore the progress, and at times, lack of progress, that we have made in the education sector in the UK. Sadia bravely shares her story of being educated in Scotland, moving into the sector as a teacher and becoming a change agent for equality, diversity and inclusion. We talk about the value of listening to, and really acting on the voices of our children, belonging, developing a colonised curriculum, cultural experiences and more. This episode also includes practical ideas that leaders can use to tackle inequalities for women, and importantly women of colour. I urge you to take the time to listen and reflect on the messages in this episode, and then… take action.

Episode 11 - Matt Manfredi

In episode 11, I am joined by international school leader Matt Manfredi. Matt’s teaching and leadership career has taken him all around the world and we discuss the differences between education and leadership in the cultures he has experienced. Matt shares his insight into developing teams, autonomy, finding joy and an impressive amount of recommendations for reading! There are so many great nuggets of advice and wisdom in this episode, I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did recording it.

Episode 10 - Helen Tarokh

Helen shares her journey into educational leadership exploring the challenges of having a family while wanting to progress in a career and navigating a variety of roles and experiences on the journey to headship. We talk about the energy needed to excel in the role of Headteacher and the value and impact of coaching.

You can find Helen here: www.mrstcoaching.com

Episode 9 - Stephanie Carlin

Coach Stephanie Carlin joins me for a fascinating conversation about her journey including an insight into the challenges of middle leadership, and making the decision to pursue a career outside the classroom. She helped me re-frame how we look at careers in schools and gives such an honest account of how it felt for her. A great episode for everyone who is, or works with middle leaders, and those thinking about taking a leap out of school in the future!

Episode 8 - Rasheda Haq

Deputy Headteacher Rasheda joins me for an honest chat about big challenges that life throws at us, learning on the job and the value of relationships where diversity of thought is present. Rasheda has an energy and joy for leadership that is inspiring and infectious, I really loved recording this episode, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Episode 7 - Keven Bartle

I'm honoured to be joined by the founder of Mind your Head, Keven Bartle, who openly shares his experiences of school leadership including the truth about leading through the pandemic. His vulnerability is a powerful reminder that being honest and finding space for reflection is vital for leaders. We explore the complexity of leadership and why supervision needs to be embedded across the sector.

Episode 6 - Joey Nghi Ho

I'm joined by the wonderful Joey Nghi Ho, Headteacher in the beautiful country of Vietnam. Joey shares her journey to leadership which took her all over the world teaching and leading in schools. We talk about working with a diverse network of educators, learning from those around us and how being thrown into something is sometimes the best thing that can happen!

Episode 5 - Jen Mitchell 

Former Primary Headteacher Jen Mitchell shares her fascinating, slightly squiggly, journey into teaching and then leadership. Jen and I explore the challenges that Jen has faced along the way and how, by taking a chance she has recently found something that has re-ignited her passion for the education sector!

Episode 4: James, a visionary Headteacher from South East London, shares his journey through education and into Leadership. Reflecting on a decade of Headship, James shares what motivates him including some incredibly inspirational organisations to follow and get involved in.

Episode 3: Chilipo Gunda joins Emma from Malawi sharing fascinating insights into his journey to leadership and the challenges for schools in Malawi. This episode explores the importance of fostering a sense of belonging with both staff and pupils drawing on Chilipo’s own educational experience and through different leadership roles in Malawi.

Episode 2: Vivienne Porritt, OBE, Former Headteacher and Co-Founder and Global Strategic Leader of WomenEd, joins Emma for a conversation about belonging, women in leadership and being brave. Vivienne shares powerful stories about her own childhood experiences driving her vision to serve in Education. This episode explores gender bias, the challenges for women working in Education and what visionary leadership looks like.

Episode 1: Featuring the wonderful Lewis Webb, Primary Headteacher and all round brilliant human being! In the episode he shares his journey, those who have inspired him (this bit gave me goose bumps!) and his belief about what we must hold true to as leaders.

In this short introduction I share the mission behind starting the Stories of School Leadership podcast. Find out about my experience and what I hope the podcast will bring to educators and those interested in the sector.