Resources: 'Two heads are better than one'

Lisa Farmer's, Emma Sheppard's and Shared Headship Network's essential: research, books, services and blogs. And Community News.

This is the free We Are In Beta Podcast Newsletter - written by me, Niall Alcock. We - the education community - Are In Beta - always learning. Sign up to learn how school leaders are tackling big issues in schools.

If you’re a new subscriber or haven’t listened to this week’s episode of the We Are In Beta Podcast, learn how Lisa Farmer, Co-Headteacher at Thomas Russell Infants School, broke the old mould of co-headship and made a new one. Yep - I stole that line. Sorry, not sorry.

Listen here, plus links to your podcast app of choice.

What’s in store today? Thee simple sections: 1. What you’ve been saying about the latest episode. 2. The essential resources that have come up via the story. 3 The increasingly popular community news section.

What have people been saying?

Check out Lisa’s story

👂 Listen on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

💬 Join the conversation. Tweet  @LisaFarmer321, @maternityCPD, @SharedHeadship and @NiallAlcock. We’d love to know what you think.

If you’re a new subscriber, thanks for joining us. Catch up on previous We Are In Beta interviews here.

The best ‘In Beta’ bits

As promised last week, and with a big thank you to episode stars: Lisa, Emma, Amy, Catriona, Hannah and Lucy, here are the resources they mentioned in their episode and some others, which have influenced their journeys significantly (and their thoughts about them).

  1. Emma’s favourite research:

    The Importance of Teachers - a collection of essays on teacher recruitment and retention, particularly the "Let's Talk About Flex" essay by Jonathan Simons.  It was the eureka moment for me at the start of The MTPT Project that began to join the dots between the motherhood penalty and teacher retention.  I believe that flex is only one of the answers to this problem, but this was the first time I'd seen the 27% of women aged 30-39 figure and this is the stat that underpins everything we do at the project.”

    The MTPT Project Infographic distills the evidence and explain why stories like Lisa’s are important to tell.

  2. The books that have had the biggest impact on their careers:

    Emma Sheppard…

    “It's a cliché, but Lean In for The MTPT Project - it's packed full of research, anecdotes and statistics particularly pertinent to the educator community that The MTPT Project serves, many of whom have leadership ambitions.  It's criticised for lots of reasons, but it's a stark reminder that if the educated middle and wealthy classes are struggling with gender equality at home and at work, then that's something that needs to be addressed if we want to speak up and give voice to those who are less fortunate, marginalised or too busy working multiple shifts to do TED talks about sitting at the table and leaning in.”

    Lisa Farmer….

    So many have had an impact but the one that I read just at the right time was Passionate Leadership in education' by Brent Davies and Tim Brighouse. I had been a head for 4 years and needed something to steer me into my next phase of leadership of the school. The book puts moral purpose to new levels and puts passion into perspective. I love anything by sir Tim as he was the most influential person in my early days as a teacher in Birmingham. He would often pop into the schools I taught in and demonstrated leading from the front at all times, something I endeavour to do.”

  3. The service Lisa Farmer couldn’t do without as a (co-)headteacher:

    “Our HR providers who offer guidance and a suite of advice, policies and guidelines.”

    PHRP have kindly put together some information and an offer on their upcoming safeguarding training here for subscribers.

  4. The MTPT Blog:

    Emma Sheppard…

    “We have a number of active bloggers in The MTPT Project community.  Some are on maternity leave and blog about their CPD adventures with their babies, others are back at work and blog about family friendly working conditions.

    If you’re in need of some inspiration, or in search of best practice to share with your own networks, explore…” here.

  5. Key government guidance about rights of workers:

    A section from Emma’s interview we didn’t include in the final episode was some advice she gave to teachers who are about to ask their SLT for flexible working arrangements to be made and what to do if permissions aren’t given. If you’d like access to it, let me know. In the meantime here is the government guidance on applying and appeals.

  6. Shared Headship Network

    Amy Brookes, Catriona Jenkins, Hannah Turbet and Lucy O’Healan invite you to learn more about the Shared Headship Network. If you’re thinking about progressing towards a job share headship, join them!

    If you’re a governor who’s interested in hearing more about the shared headship model, they’d love to hear from you.

If you found these resources useful and would like to access them after each episode of the podcast sign up here.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,


(Shared Headship Network)

What you are up to—positivity and growth from the We Are In Beta community

I’ve been playing around with when best, and how often, to run this feature. What do you think? Midweek? Weekend? Let me know.

Anyway, here’s what We Are In Beta listeners and subscribers are up to at the moment…

Hannah Wilson is convening Diverse Educators III - celebrating and showcasing of diversity, equality and inclusion in education. Catch up on her We Are In Beta interview here.

Dr Deb Outhwaite invites you to Derby Teaching School Alliance’s annual (cross phase) Leadership Conference. 20th-21st November.

Adam Bones’ free educational research CPD events continue. This time he hosts Professor Jonathan Phillips, Dr Hannes Klieneke & Prof. Andrew Jotischky on Medieval and Early Modern History. 18th Nov.

Josie Mingay, Joe Ambrose and Will Smith have been working on the Greenshaw Research School and released their first half termly newsletter - events, case studies, wider reading and more. Read the first edition and sign up here.

Evelyn Forde is celebrating one of her students - Nabeeha Toufiq- winning the Conduct Science Essay Award 2019. Congratulations!

Evelyn is also recruiting for a teacher of Maths and a cover supervisor. Catch up on her We Are In Beta interview here.

Penny Rabiger is offering free CPD over the coming weeks on enriching your curriculum with LyftaEd in Essex, London, Milton Keynes, Bradford and via webinar.

Jeremy Hannay writes about how he builds trust in a culture of skepticism through an instructional programme.

Emma Turner thinks the narrative around leadership needs to change and think toddlers hold the answers in her new book ‘Be More Toddler’.

Philip McCahill shares his top tips for NQTs on the Chartered College Blog.

Stephen Berryman convenes ‘Public Debate: Music in the Curriculum: tensions, choices and opportunities’. November 15th.

Dave Whittaker features in TES - how to teach challenging pupils never exclude them. Look out for his episode of We Are In Beta in a few weeks time.

James Pope is championing positive psychology training used in the police force that’s equally applicable to headteachers, staff and students.

BAMEed Network are running their 3rd birthday conference: Keeping Resolutions. Jan 18th 2020. Tickets here.

Sarah Mullin has been featured as an inspirational women in We Are The City.

Allan Osbourne is running the London Marathon for the Sammy Jo Brandon Foundation. Good luck! Donate here.

Kiran Gill is recruiting for a research and communications manager.

Laura Fraser, Jon Hutchinson and the SLT Network invite you to explore the research principles that underpin the curriculum with example materials and networking opportunities. 20th November.

Niall Alcock ;) is recruiting an empathetic, curious, values-driven, story-finding, relationship-building, educationalist who'd like to help grow the #weareinbeta community so we can champion more schools and share more positivity and growth.

I’ve had some great conversations with lots of brilliant people about this tole but would love to have some more before the deadline this weekend. Feel free to get in touch.

More next time.

Want to share your news? Let me know here. I’ll include next time and tweet if I can.

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