Women In Leadership Programme Successfully Concludes

A successful, Department of Education (DfE) funded, leadership programme has completed with a record-breaking number of participants.

The ‘Unlocking Potential: Women in Leadership’ programme was launched in March 2019, with a total of 49 women taking part in the course which was designed and facilitated by Julie Slater, Chief Executive Principal (Secondary) at Outwood Grange Academies Trust.  

The programme was designed for women who are considering leadership roles, and explores successful leadership and how to overcome potential barriers. It consisted of five sessions that were delivered across the Outwood Institute of Education site at Outwood Academy Acklam.

The programme concluded with a celebration event for those who had participated on the programme, which took place at the Outwood Institute of Education, Adwick with Dr. Karen Edge sharing her international research into gender and leadership in education across three countries; Canada, USA and England. 

Speaking about the programme, Julie said: “I am delighted by the success we have achieved with our women into leadership programme. It is so important that we continue to encourage women to come forward and lead in the work-place, and continue to transform what it means to lead, and how to lead.

“The idea for the programme came as a result of me taking part in Oxford University’s inaugural Women into Leadership programme which ran through the Saïd Business School in 2013. 

“It was a fantastic learning opportunity for me; it was an international programme and I was fortunate to be able to network with female leaders from the private and public sectors from many countries. It provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my own leadership journey and to learn from others. 

“It took me out of my comfort zone and I pushed myself to get as much from the programme as I could. I even conducted a choir in Balliol Chapel at Evensong! The programme had a significant impact on me both personally and professionally and I wanted to share this with others.”

Over the duration of the programme participants have reflected on their own experiences to date; explored the impact of leadership through personality; reflected on gender specific vocabulary and gender bias that exists in everyday life; discussed potential barriers to career progression for women; learnt how to influence and negotiate and deliver a ‘pitch’.

Some of the 49 women who took part in the leadership programme are already seeing the positive rewards from their participation. Eight attendees have already achieved promotions in their careers, and credit the programme for playing a major role in their success.

Michelle Marriott, an Associate Assistant Principal at Outwood Academy Shafton, in Barnsley, has secured a promotion since taking undertaking the programme.

Michelle, who will begin her new position as Assistant Principal at Outwood Academy City Fields, in Wakefield, from September, said: “I found the leadership programme so insightful and it has definitely helped me improve my leadership style and techniques at work. 

“As well as the actual content that we were discussing and learning, I found the opportunity to expand my professional support network exceptionally useful. The supportive mood at each of the sessions really helped me to grow my self-confidence and push myself.”

Julie added: “I am obviously proud that some of the participants on the programme have already seen success in their careers through promotions into leadership positions. I am just as proud of all the connections, and friendships I saw being made on the programme between the participants. 

“There is definitely a need for this programme in education; women need to understand that you can achieve at the highest levels and maintain a great family life. I have achieved this, so why can’t others? 

“It is important that female leaders share their experiences with their colleagues in the workplace and then we will be in a position to unlock even more potential where everyone benefits.”

This is the third cohort of women to complete the programme and due to its success, the DfE has approved funding for the course to be run next year from two locations. As well as re-running at the base of the OIE in Tees Valley, the programme will also be run by the OIE Yorkshire and Humber base too.

Emma Rennison, Executive Director at the OIE, said: “We are delighted that the DfE has approved the funding for this fantastic programme to be repeated next year from both the Tees Valley and Yorkshire and Humber bases of the OIE.

“It has been a fantastic success since first being launched, helping dozens of women get ahead in their career and improve their leadership skills, while allowing them to build their professional support network.”