The wisdom of a principal holding an NUS card

8th September 2017 at 00:00
Principal Annette Bruton will be gaining new insights into college life as a student this academic year

FErret has been worried. The new term is only just starting, and students are enrolling across the country as we speak. But somehow, the spark is missing. Although college staff should be refreshed and excited to start a new year after a summer of sitting in the sun reading the latest edition of Tes, FErret cannot help but feel some might be at risk of getting caught up in a groundhog day sort of a mood.

He cannot blame them. Another welcome speech from the principal, another cohort of students enrolling into hundreds of courses, another group of young people getting lost in corridors – and yes, another group of thousands of learners to get ready for GCSE resits. All of that just as another series of The Great British Bake Off and The X Factor are making 2017 feel an awful lot like 2016.

There are, of course, ways to tackle this. FErret often speaks to lecturers who are really mixing it up in class, and principals constantly finding ways to keep themselves, as well as their staff, motivated. And last week, he came across a rather special way one leader has chosen to gain a new perspective on her college, while also following a personal passion.

Earlier this year, FErret went on a weekend break to beautiful Scotland. Last week, he staged a second escape across Hadrian’s Wall and, in the enrolment line at Edinburgh College, ran into an unlikely new student: principal Annette Bruton.

The leader of one of Scotland’s biggest colleges, well-known for her passion for art and textiles, will next week start a year-long creative textiles: surface pattern evening course. This, she told FErret, makes her the proud owner of an NUS card and a student card for the college, to add to her staff badge identifying her as college principal.

She will gain new insights into life at her college from a student perspective, no doubt. Maybe more of us should consider this? FErret is flicking through his local college brochure. Maybe something in animal care?

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