A thousand years of educational experience

In December 2014 the wonderful Chris Chivers published this post about trying to capture the wealth of experience of education that exists.  I can recommend both Chris’s initial thoughts, and what those who have commented have been able to add.  Using the same format as Chris, I’d like to contribute the following:

I spent thirty years full-time in education, as a teacher, Head of Department, Head of Sixth Form, Deputy Head and Head.  In the five years since I finished as a head I have spent time working as an educational consultant and completing a Professional Doctorate in Education, which focusses on the transition from Deputy Headship to Headship.  So these are my thoughts following this 35 year career so far….


Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect, and be forgiving of your own mistakes and false starts, but think of your life and your career as being a journey towards being the best you can be – as a person and as a professional.


Tune into the needs of each individual learner, reassuring them that you care about each as a person, as well as caring about their progress.  Offer the right balance of support and challenge so that each of them can embark on this journey too.


Leaders (at all levels) need to work to get the best from all those they lead.  You have to be able to see the best in them, and ensure they see you see it.  Recognise and make the most of people’s strengths and build a trusting, positive relationship so that you can support and challenge them to work on their areas for development too.

Thanks, Chris, for offering the opportunity to contribute to this, and for making me think!  I hope others will add their thoughts – this is a powerful mechanism for sharing, reflecting and learning.

Photo credit: My late father, John Barker, took the photograph of me at the beginning of my teaching career in 1980

My husband, John Berry, took the photograph of me in 2014.

This post was first published on @staffrm in 2015

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