Until December 2019 I was CEO of the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust. A trust in Blackpool including Christ the King and St. Cuthbert’s Catholic Acadamies – primary schools – and St. Mary’s Catholic Academy is an 11-18 school. Currently I engage with schools and school leaders as a speaker, author and tutor on the National College of Education Senior Leaders Masters Programmes (see Leadership Development Programmes 2021). I also chair the Headteachers’ Roundtable Group.
My first book was titled Liminal Leadership and is available via John Catt Ltd or Amazon. Liminal Leadership is based on my reflections of thirty years of leading and learning. A very personal book it describes my own journey as a leader and what influenced it. The book concluded with three key bridges – Beyond focus to flow; Beyond Informed to wise and Beyond Ethical to Humane. It is written for teachers and leaders who want to reflect on their current or future practice.
I had never intended to write a second book but during the first COVID-19 Lockdown, from March to May 2020, I completed Educating with Purpose: The Heart of What Matters from a whole series of notes that I had written over a number of years. The book is available from John Catt Ltd and Amazon. The notes looked at the “why” of education, via four key philosophies, and the curriculum impications as viewed through Dylan Wiliam’s Seven Curriculum Design Principles. I used these as a basis to reflect on the current direction of educational travel in England and propose key issues we need to address following the generational “Great Pause” caused by the pandemic. The video below highlights the four key philosophies underpinning the purpose of education.
My career started in Blackburn at Notre Dame Catholic High School in September 1988 with the school amalgamating the following year to form Our Lady & St. John’s Catholic High School. Following four years as Head of Science, at De La Salle in St. Helens, I was Deputy Headteacher at Our Lady’s Catholic High School, Lancaster.
In September 2013, I became Executive Headteacher of St. Mary’s Catholic College and Christ the King Catholic Primary School. These two Blackpool school’s first hard federated in January 2009. Previously I had been the headteacher of St. Mary’s Catholic College from September 2000 and thirteen years of headship have been a real rollercoaster of a journey. St. Mary’s is a hugely exciting place to work. We know we need to go the extra mile with our students, staff’s generosity and willingness to work with and for students whilst supporting each other adds to the wonderful ethos that permeates the school. Whilst at St. Mary’s I was very involved with the Specialist Schools & Academies Trust.
I am fascinated by leadership, learning, pedagogy and the curriculum and these elements have been intertwined throughout my professional life so far.
“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” – Ralph W. Emerson
“Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.” – G.K. Nielson