Career progression case studies for teachers and leaders

Case study: Nicola Windsor

Working as a teacher in the London Borough of Ealing is a fantastic career opportunity. As an NQT, never did I think that within ten years I would become a deputy headteacher!

Ealing has a lot to offer for teachers wanting to progress in their careers and experience different leadership roles.

Starting out as an NQT

Having successfully passed the interview process for the Ealing primary pool, I was contacted by Selborne Primary School, Perivale, for an NQT position in Year 1, starting September 2009. I quickly found out that Ealing borough has a plethora of courses specifically tailored for NQTs and extensive support was in place to make my first teaching year a success. Courses at Ealing Education Centre were many and wide-ranging, including specific skills and general classroom management. They provided opportunities to network with other NQTs I was very happy to share my experience at the following year’s NQT welcome as I could detail the programme of support in place and share a personalised view.

Supporting others

Following on from my induction year, I went on to become an NQT mentor and found the training and support from the borough of equal value. Resources and events were informative and gave a clear indication of what I needed to do in my first nurturing role.

During 2010 – 2011, I participated in an action research project which contributed to the revised marking policy at Selborne Primary School. I enjoyed this experience so much that I went on to start my master’s in education (MA) the following year and used action research for my dissertation.

Being a borough moderator

When I moved on to teaching in UKS2, I looked for other roles I could undertake to gain greater expertise to develop in my career and to support others. My headteacher, recognising my potential, put me forward to become a borough moderator. The summer of 2012 was my first experience of joining a team to assess teachers’ judgments of pupils’ writing. More recently, I have become a Lead borough moderator. In the summer of 2019, Ealing deployed some of its moderators to Hillingdon and I was excited to work in another borough. Being a borough moderator has given me a unique insight into how other schools organise their curriculum and assess pupils’ learning. This leadership experience also helped me to progress onto a phase manager role.

Moving through leadership roles

Back at Selborne Primary School, in the academic year 2013-2014, I interviewed for the role of Phase Manager (Years 5/6) and was appointed. It was a perfect first step in leadership, in addition to my other role as Science Leader. The school enrolled me on the Middle leader development programme (MLDP) and I attended whole day events that focused on aspects such as my leadership style. It was an excellent programme that was supported at every step by a school-based mentor.

Not long after this, the school was restructured and changed from two form entry to three form entry. As the senior leadership team evolved, I successfully applied and became an assistant headteacher. I was enrolled on the National Professional Qualification- senior leadership programme (NPQSL)Which I thoroughly enjoyed learning alot about my ‘hidden’ self! . My whole school project significantly impacted teaching practice at the school and revolutionised the way we taught reading in primary years.

Another source of support in my career development came through the annual Leadership conference for Deputy/Assistant Headteachers. These one-day events strengthened links with colleagues and helped me to feel part of the future for our schools. Guest speakers were inspiring, and I always left these conferences feeling reenergized and valued.

In the spring term of 2018, I successfully interviewed for the position of deputy head of standards and curriculum. From September 2018, I joined Ealing Primary Teaching School Alliance’s (EPTSA) support programme and was assigned a mentor in a nearby school. I was able to liaise with my mentor on several occasions throughout the academic year and grew in confidence. Similar to my NQT experience, I was asked back the following year to share how the programme supported my career development to the next cohort of new AHTs and DHTs.

It was not long after this that I successfully interviewed for a specialist leader in education (SLE) position and was deployed to a school outside of the borough to help embed Lesson Study practice. The borough training for this was excellently tailored and I got great feedback from my deployment.

Sharing expertise

In addition to climbing the ranks to deputy headteacher, throughout my teaching career I have had opportunities to lead training events. This is a wonderful way to share classroom practice and network with others. I have delivered NQT training events on writing (grammar focused), differentiation and Science. Through EPTSA, I have additionally delivered training on lesson study.

Teaching is my second career, and I am so pleased I made the switch. I am even more pleased that I chose to work in Ealing as the opportunities for career progression are endless.

Career and professional development
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Last updated: 22 Oct 2021

Ealing Learning Partnership