We believe, and are told, that our partnership is integral to the success of WiSH. Although we have both held leadership roles in schools, our subsequent careers have developed in different ways, so we bring complementary skills and expertise, experiences and knowledge to our partnership. Feedback over the years suggests that this blend creates a whole that is much greater than the sum of the parts.
We met when Meg, in her role as Senior County Inspector, commissioned Eve, then leading women’s education development work at the Industrial Society, to deliver an annual residential training course as part of the Essex women’s leadership initiative. This programme had great success over the 10 years it ran, dramatically increasing the number of women headteachers and senior leaders in Essex schools.
As Assistant Director leading the women’s campaign at the National College for School Leadership (NCSL), Meg invited Eve to be lead consultant. This second project of shared goals and common purpose cemented their working relationship, and they set up WiSH in 2006 in response to the then headteacher recruitment crisis. Today they still draw on the same principles to guide all of their projects: precise objectives, clear strategy, creativity of approach, enlisting support from role models, effective working relationships and partnerships, appropriate feedback and rigorous evaluation.
In supporting governors with their headship appointments, Meg found that few women easily convinced appointing panels of their capability to lead and manage large schools. When training for Headship was first mooted, Meg believed that it would be excellent for the profession and would ensure equality of opportunity for both men and women. As the Training and Development Centre Manager for the East Region for the National Professional Development for Headship (NPQH), she saw at first-hand the impact of the qualification on women. They felt more confident to apply for headships because they were now qualified to undertake the role!
As a leadership consultant for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), Meg supports governors in the appointment of headteachers and is aware that too few women put themselves forward for the ultimate role of headship. She is on a mission to convince senior women leaders that they can do the job and do it very well!
Alongside her equalities campaigning and women’s development training, Eve led her own training consultancy, specialising in wellbeing and workplace stress management programmes, and supporting clients in and outside of the education sector with career development, presentation skills, and assertiveness training. Along the way she co-authored two successful books, on Stress in the Workplace and Women’s’ Self-Development.
She started coaching when asked to work one-to-one with clients, and this part of her work has grown significantly over the last 20 years. Clients will bring a range of topics to coaching, from longer-term career development matters to managing specific and immediate workplace challenges. Eve has a particular reputation in preparing candidates for headteachers interviews, with considerable success.