WRAT CPD Blog – Lessons in Leadership

Updated: Feb 5

Nicola Widnall, Trust Vice-Principal


We have learned so much from our CPD programme last half term, here is a breakdown of our Leadership Development sessions and ‘Aspiring Leaders’ programme with key takeaways.


Firstly, I would like to thank Liz Armstrong, Steve Etherington and Helen Morgan for their excellent delivery and insightful teachings. We look forward to more from them this year.


From October half term, we ran four CDP sessions on leadership skills and behaviours, each one looking at a very different theme.


We have covered academy and organisation finances, imposter syndrome and how to overcome it, leadership styles and how to monitor and improve school effectiveness.


These sessions have given staff from across the White Rose Academies Trust and wider Luminate Education Group time to build new skills, knowledge and space to reflect on their strengths and career aspirations.


Key Takeaways from Leadership Development sessions


Here are a couple of key takeaways:

· We explored Daniel Goleman’s Six Leadership Styles, which is a simple reference tool which anyone can use to reflect on and develop their approach.

· We reflected on how perfectionism links with imposter syndrome and picked up some practical tips e.g. challenge yourself to spend 30 mins less on preparing a presentation and use that time for something else.

· We developed our confidence through learning about the responsibilities and processes of financial management, as well as a useful summary of the statutory responsibilities.

· This inspiring quote: “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right things”- Peter Drucker.

Aspiring Leaders


I would like to thank Katie Broadbent, Leeds West Academy’s resident trainer, for leading our Aspiring Leaders cohort which got off to a fantastic start.


In their first inspiring and interactive workshop, participants explored their own leadership style as the starting point for the development of their own leadership project within their respective academy.

Over the academic year, staff who have enrolled on the course will receive three bespoke workshops and follow up one-to-one coaching sessions to support them in designing and successfully implementing their own leadership projects.


In the first session, colleagues explored which leadership projects would align best with their Academy’s strategic priorities and have been working on the preparation phase before their project delivery begins. They were also introduced to the ‘True Colors’ leadership development tool by Katie.


Emma Landers at Leeds West Academy found this aspect of the training extremely useful.


She provided this feedback which I wanted to share:


“I have never really thought about how others may view me as a leader and ‘True Colors’ is a great tool for exploring this.”

Our next session takes place this month where the focus will be on reviewing leadership skills, overcoming pitfalls and maximising opportunities for effective outcomes.


This year, Katie is also continuing to work with four colleagues from across the Trust who were part of last year’s Aspiring Leaders’ cohort as part of the Year 2 Aspiring Leaders Programme. As part of this programme, Katie has already started to provide bespoke 1-1 coaching to enable them to build on skills from the previous year.

Pete Harvey at Leeds City Academy said:


“The fact that I was able to confidently pick up where I left off and drive forward with support and direction is testament to how well organised and effective the course is. Katie has been able to offer me even more support and ideas drawn from her NPQSL (National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership) training and I’m really looking forward to this year.”


If you are keen to get involved in this training or want to know more about our development opportunities, then please do get in touch.


Katie is open to talk to colleagues, peers and aspiring teachers about who to develop your practice further.


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