Cathie Lees headteacher Glengowan Primary, South Lanarkshire

23rd June 2006 at 01:00
I have been an assistant head and a depute head, but it is totally different when it is you at the top, rather than following somebody else's lead. It's a quantum leap.

I did a postgraduate qualification in education management, which helped to prepare me, but the biggest help was my previous headteacher. She was very experienced and I learned a lot being part of her team: how she dealt with the diary, planned for the year, held management meetings, involved all the staff I In a way, it is easier being headteacher because I have a clearer idea of the long-term aims, the vision, because it's mine.

This is a big school, with over 30 members of staff, from probationer teachers to some who are preparing for retirement. The biggest challenge, I think, is to motivate all of them, to be patient and to move forward together.

You have to take time, evaluate what is happening and gradually make the changes you want. It's like teaching a class for the first time.

I knew every word of the development plan for this school but it's only when you meet the people and see the dynamics - how they get on, whether they are happy - that you understand what it is really like.

The most satisfying part of the job is seeing a few words in a development plan becoming something that makes a real difference to children. Last week, we had a whole school art exhibition that was run as an enterprise by Primary 2 and Primary 6. It began as two bald statements in the development plan and it led to some of the younger teachers flourishing, through the extra responsibility, to every single child producing their own artwork and to the school bursting at the seams with supportive parents.

When I looked at all that, I remember thinking: "This is a really good job."

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