Time for Change: Becoming a Middle Leader


Time for Change: Becoming a Middle Leader


Hermione Cheal

Hermione Cheal, Year Two Class Teacher at Gateway School, a Bellevue school in Buckinghamshire, shares her experience of partaking in the Bellevue Leadership training scheme.

A lot is expected of us teachers. We need to be good at sharing knowledge, facilitating learning, assessing progress, communicating goals and targets, using technology… well, the list is endless. Many of these skills and proficiencies are taught and fostered within teacher training programmes. However, one skill that is often overlooked is that of being a good leader. It is certainly an element of my job that I find challenging.

So to be given the opportunity to join the Bellevue Middle Leaders Course came at just the right time for me. I am not yet a ‘middle manager’ but I have taken on some projects in my first year here at Gateway (such as setting up the school podcast and helping to run School Council) and the satisfaction I have gained from those experiences has left me eager for more responsibility and leadership opportunities. 

The focus of the course this term is ‘change’, or ‘that old chestnut’, as it was put succinctly by the course leader. Change can certainly inspire anxiety if not handled correctly, yet it is also a powerful tool for good. In leaders, change is often used as a way to measure success, but as leaders, the onus is on us to ensure that the changes we make are positive, necessary and long-lasting – not just jumping on another bandwagon. It was fascinating to hear other teachers and middle managers within the Bellevue group sharing their experiences of change within their settings. Delving deeper into the theory of change, we wrestled with the challenge of making changes that are effective and meaningful. 

A highlight of joining the course was connecting with teachers from other Bellevue schools, reminding me of the benefits of being part of a group of schools. I came away with plenty of new ideas and leadership strategies to try in meetings and managerial situations. The session on change was particularly motivating, and it got me thinking about changes I would like to make within my own team and within the wider school community. The course in general served as a timely reminder that my own colleagues are a valuable resource that I can tap into in order to develop my own practice. 

It has been an exciting but challenging time to join a new school, particularly in the context of a global pandemic. Now that I’m feeling settled at Gateway, it’s time to look to my next steps.

I am determined to use the experience of the Middle Leaders course to help me to develop my career, and I’m keen to take on greater managerial responsibilities in order to put some of these skills into practice.

To find out more about Gateway School, visit the school’s profile page.