2019 Autumn Term 1

The know zone

  • The SATs debate
    One senior politician has suggested that SATs should be 'scrapped'. Here Primary Specialist Tiffnie Harris highlights ASCL's position on this important issue. More
  • University challenge
    As the new term begins and students start their UCAS applications, Kevin Gilmartin looks at the university choices of this year's freshers. More
  • Balance the facts and the figures
    Business Leadership Specialist Hayley Dunn shares top tips on setting pay and conditions for school business leadership roles. More
  • Just the job?
    ASCL Pay and Conditions Specialist Louise Hatswell shares advice on how to avoid any pitfalls when changing jobs and moving to another school. More
  • Listen up...
    We asked our members what advice they would give to someone starting in their first leadership role and one word featured in most responses - 'listen'. Here, ASCL members share their thoughts... More
  • Providing an alternative perspective
    Executive Headteacher John Bradshaw is the new voice of ASCL Council elected to represent Alternative Provision (AP) in education. More
  • Mark my words
    Rather than playing with fire, play it safe and change your language to fit your audience. More
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Executive Headteacher John Bradshaw is the new voice of ASCL Council elected to represent Alternative Provision (AP) in education.

Providing an alternative perspective

Tell us about your role

I have been a mainstream Headteacher in Newham and Tower Hamlets and I am now Executive Headteacher of London East Alternative Provision (LEAP), which is a large multi-site Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) serving the secondary schools in Tower Hamlets.

Why did you decide to become an ASCL Council member?

The decision to have an ASCL rep for Alternative Provision (AP) was only taken this year but given the focus on AP and school exclusions by government and the DfE, itís important that AP has a voice within Council. Although I have been a union member throughout my career, I had never considered actually being involved in the work of the union. I was, however, very pleased to be elected to this new post, by my peers within AP, which ensures Alternative Provision is represented within Council, linked to Ethics, Inclusion and Equalities, which is the committee I am part of. Most recently, I have welcomed an opportunity to have an input into ASCLís response to serious violence and the new legal duty to support multi-agency action, and to the briefing document on a designated senior lead for mental health training.

Why did you decide to get into teaching/leadership?

I became a school leader because of the great headteachers I have been lucky enough to work with who were inspiring and encouraging in equal measure. As I approach the end of my 40th year in education I am enjoying my third headship. Itís hard to remember why I became a teacher, but I do know I never wanted to do anything else.

Some years ago, I thought I would stop and do something else but a good friend and colleague mentioned a book called Finding Your Element: How to discover your talents and passions and transform your life by Ken Robinson. This was a timely reminder of what my passion was and still is: supporting and encouraging young people, particularly those who have not had the best start in life.

Being given an opportunity to lead an AP school is without doubt the high point of my career and may extend my career a little longer, which may be a disappointment to my fantastic senior team.

When I first became a headteacher, I could never understand those colleagues who described it as the best job in the world. I found it hard to understand this viewpoint. This was much more to do with how I approached the job and not the schools I was fortunate enough to lead. This all changed when I became the headteacher of London East AP and became a member of an amazing team, which makes being the headteacher of LEAP Ďthe best job in the worldí.

How do you like to unwind?

To the absolute frustration of my family and friends I like to unwind by doing nothing. If I had to list the things I do to relax it would be watching bad TV and being at home with my family. Whereas they all want to be anywhere else except at homeÖsomehow, we manage to find a compromise.

Whatís your favourite film and book?

My favourite book is always the one I am reading today and my favourite film follows the same pattern as itís usually the one I have just watched. If I reflect back far enough though, my best book would be Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. This is not because itís a particular classic but itís a lovely reminder of my dad, who loved books. My favourite film is The Deer Hunter, which was the first film I remember having an impact on me beyond the action.

What advice would you give someone starting a leadership position today?

Accept that you donít need to have all the answers and that you will only ever be as good as the team around you. If you would like to get in touch please contact me at john.bradshaw@londoneastap.org.uk

ASCL Council

For more details on how you can become a Council member, please email ASCL Director of Policy Julie McCulloch at Julie.mcculloch@ascl.org.uk 

We are particularly keen to encourage people from currently under-represented groups, including women and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, to put themselves forward. Also see www.ascl.org.uk/council