Case study: Stuart Edwards
/ Categories: Leadership, Case studies
I started my teaching career as an NQT in Hastings in September 1998 as a Languages teacher. My main language is German and I spent a year teaching in a school in Germany in 1995-96 as part of my degree and it was there that I decided to pursue teaching. I enjoyed teaching the students and seeing them grow in confidence and ability throughout my time in the school, as well as having the opportunity to build relationships with young people and other teachers. It was there that I realised that teaching was the career path I wanted to follow.
Teaching is a fantastic career; good teachers impact positively on the lives of young people. The job is also varied - no two days are the same and there is constant interaction with a variety of people; it is never dull!
I have held different responsibilities throughout my career. I spent two years in Hastings, then moved to the Littlehampton Community School, where I had responsibility as a Key Stage leader in MFL. I was promoted to Head of MFL at Bognor Regis Community College (predecessor for The Regis School) in 2002. I moved from there in January 2006 to Felpham Community College (FCC) first as Assistant Head and latterly as Deputy Head. I spent four and a half years at FCC before taking a sideways move to The Regis School (TRS) in 2010. I was promoted internally as Head of School at TRS in September 2015 and took up the position of Principal at Midhurst Rother College (MRC) in September 2016.
My key achievements prior to being appointed Principal are varied, with some linked to whole-school outcomes and others linked to individual staff and student success. I am pleased to have had a positive impact on outcomes at both FCC and TRS. At FCC, 5 A-Cs inc English & Maths was 31% higher when I left the school and at TRS results are 20% higher than when I joined. I am also proud to have supported colleagues’ development into school leadership positions both internally and externally. Education is all about young people and improving their life- chances; I have helped students from deprived backgrounds to attend Oxford and Cambridge but am equally delighted to have helped students achieve places on apprenticeships and to go into employment.
United Learning has been a significant support to me in my progression into Headship. The opportunities given to me by United Learning have extended my experience and helped prepare me for the next step in my career. This has included supporting me to attend the Aspirant Principal Programme organised by NCSL, enabling me to train as an Ofsted inspector, as well as facilitating a secondment to Paddington where I had the opportunity to work alongside the senior leadership team. I have also received executive coaching from Education Specialist Andy Buck, which I found incredibly helpful.
I believe that school leadership is a privilege. I see the role of school leaders and leadership to unlock potential, broaden horizons and raise aspirations for students to enable them to be the best they can be. School leaders must, in my view, make sure that students’ academic progress and welfare remains central to all decision making. My role as Principal at MRC is to make sure that our young people leave us highly skilled and highly qualified, ready for the next stage in their lives.