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Kyrstie Stubbs – Deputy CEO Inspire Partnership Trust, NPQLT Facilitator with Exchange Teaching Hub

I have been DCEO of Inspire Partnership Trust for a year and a half, and it’s a role I love! It is not a role that leaves much time for anything else however, and I had to think long and hard about becoming a facilitator for NPQs as I wanted to be clear that I had the capacity.

What made me do it was my belief that we should all be putting back something into the education system where we can, and that we should all play our part in growing our next generation of leaders.

I came into education relatively late by most standards at the age of thirty, having had a successful career in retail for 9 years working as a manager both of stores and of policy across a large organisation. When I started teaching, I knew that the leadership bug was still within me, but was constantly told by leaders that I should lower my aspirations as I had not been in education long enough. A little encouragement at the start of my career would have been most welcome!

Anyway, as my Mum often tells people, saying no to me is like a red rag to a bull, so I did it anyway! However, it made me value the people who did support me on my journey and who mentored me along the way. I pledged to always try to support others in their own leadership journeys, and I hope those who have worked for me can testify to this.

One of the things I miss the most in my current role is actual teaching! I loved the teaching aspect of my role as class teacher and although I still from time to time get back in the classroom, it is rare that I get that buzz of seeing new learning happen in the moment. For me, this is the best part of my role as a facilitator- especially the face-to-face sessions. It feels like I am back in the classroom, having those moments where new learning is applied and understood by my ‘class’.

What’s more- the teaching goes both ways. I can honestly say that I have learnt as much from my cohort as I hope they have from me and my experiences. The beauty of the NPQ approach is that it brings together research and the grassroots. The UCL programme with Exchange Teaching Hub puts the research into a practical context and it is through participants sharing different experiences that the most effective learning is brought about. The depth and quality of the conversations has been a real benefit to everyone involved and I think I would say that the conversations that the content provokes is as crucial to the learning as the actual slides.

I have always placed great importance on my staff looking externally at evidence-based practice to inform and develop their own practice, but we don’t always have the time to go out there and find it. The NPQs almost take away that time element and bring the latest research to your door! So another benefit for me about my role as facilitator is I get to stay ahead with all the current research- I have often delivered training and then adapted parts of this to support the development of my own staff.

As a facilitator, I have been very impressed with how well the NPQ has been organised- all communication is sent centrally and the support with online sessions and breakout rooms for me has been a lifesaver! It’s the content of the course that matters and the relationships that you make with your cohort, but the excellent organisation and support I have experienced has made the role of facilitator easier and more enjoyable – and who wouldn’t want to go to such a wonderful venue!

So- if you are even contemplating becoming a facilitator with Exchange Teaching Hub, then my advice would be a resounding –

‘DO IT!’

By Kyrstie Stubbs