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Counsel for council members

Keith Cox makes a plea to assistant and deputy head members – consider standing for ASCL Council.

Looking ahead to retirement this summer, I have a list of things I won’t miss in education. But high on my list of things I will most definitely miss is membership of ASCL Council.

I joined Council in 1999 as one of two members co-opted to represent the views of assistant heads. I have been there ever since, elected in my own right since 2001.

I was more than a little apprehensive when I joined and wondered what contribution an assistant head from Halifax could make to such an august body. I was made very welcome and my views were sought on the full range of issues.

ASCL’s main committees cover professional, education, pay and conditions, funding and public and parliamentary issues. My committee of choice has been Professional. Over the years since 1999 we have debated and influenced the development of the National College and its programmes, the many manifestations of Ofsted, teachers’ CPD and performance management, the rise and fall of the GTCE, the role and influence of the TDA and teacher training.

Membership of ASCL Council is the best CPD available. The quality of information is second to none, allowing you to keep well ahead of the plethora of initiatives which we enjoy so much. As a Council member you not only receive information but have the opportunity to shape ASCL and thus national policy. Additionally ASCL is a network of highly supportive educationalists the like of which you can find nowhere else and there is a strong social side and the chance to make some good friends.

Being a member of Council carries responsibilities as well. When I first joined, I never imagined I would end up on the appointing panel for the general secretary post. As a member of Professional Committee I first represented ASCL at the DfES (as was) on teacher CPD. Subsequently I represented ASCL at the TDA on the National Reference Group for CPD. I drafted ASCL’s first policy statement on CPD and took on the role of MAPS Officer and committee chair. I also found myself at the GTCE helping with the development of the Teaching and Learning Academy.

Currently, membership of Council does not reflect the membership nationally. Deputy and assistant head members are seriously under represented compared to the membership as a whole.

On that note, I’d like to end with a plea. To deputy and assistant heads, put yourselves forward. You, your school and ASCL will benefit. To members generally, I would ask you to give serious thought to the practical expertise deputy and assistant heads can bring to Council, encourage interested members in your institution to stand, and consider giving them your vote in the next elections.

  • Keith Cox is assistant head at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School Halifax.