04 February 2022

The yellow brick road to leadership can require many things of you. There is certainly a need to show some heart, whilst finding courage will never be far behind, and we cannot fail to recognise the importance of our brains. SW100 is your pair of ruby slippers: a perfect fit of challenge, experiences, research and purpose all expertly curated by exceptional practitioners who have embarked on a collective mission to ensure the best outcomes and opportunities for all children in the South West. 

But what sets this road apart from the others? (Sorry, it’s not actually a lovely pair of sparkly shoes)

SW100 is not a tick box course which starts and ends with leadership alone, and neither is it led by a Government or Local Authority agenda. This is an immersive and experiential programme which has been crafted and designed with considerable attention to detail by significant leaders and educationalists, those who have walked the walk and talked the talk. Born from the fact that “Nationally, disadvantaged children start school an average of 4.6 months behind their wealthier peers. By the end of secondary school, it is 18.4 months,” and that for disadvantaged children of the South West, these statistics are evidently even worse. The programme makes it it’s mission and purpose to urgently improve the outcomes for these children through the investment and development of the best network of leaders who can, and will, narrow the gaps and change the narrative of these children’s futures. The model developed specifically for this purpose strikes the balance between programme and personal need, as described by Dempster, Johnson and Fluckiger, offering a unique but highly effective leadership learning route to Headship.

As a leader in the Primary sector, there are multiple benefits in taking part in SW100. The opportunity for personal growth is immense, ensuring immediate impact on thinking and practice whilst critically constructing your own narrative as a Leader. Safe spaces are subtly facilitated in which a network of crucial relationships can be built, strengthening, and challenging what is known, seen, read and practiced. Opportunity to engage with key influencers and leaders in current education is empowering, especially as they are the ones leading the way. Another benefit, which cannot be ignored, is that of working directly with Secondary Colleagues. We are all pieces of the same puzzle and connectedness in thinking and knowledge strengthens the possibility of ensuring the best outcomes at all stages. This programme is an opportunity to challenge cultural norms and expectations, shattering those glass ceilings that have been unconsciously or consciously placed on children, school systems and teaching and learning.

What SW100 is and what it does is sublime and complex; a challenge to simplify in a few hundred words, but I’ve hopefully caught your attention. If you’re someone who believes all children of the South West deserve the best educational outcomes and life chances: follow that SW100 yellow brick road and I promise, you won’t be disappointed.