Stephen Munday, Chief Executive, The Cam Academy Trust & Executive Principal, Comberton Village College & President of The Chartered College of Teaching: Doing the right thing and working together


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 the big issues in schools.

Many of you have already taught your last lesson of the 2018-19 academic year! I wish you (and those of you, who have just a couple more days to go) a very restful and well-deserved summer break!

The more I interview school leaders the more I ask myself: ‘What is it that stands out about them? And what is it that stands out about what they said?’

I often come back to two things. Authenticity - the extent to which they are being themselves - and clarity - how easy it is to remember their message.

First, my guest in the penultimate episode - #10 - of the pilot series of the We Are In Beta podcast, is certainly authentic.

He speaks his mind. He’s refreshingly ‘no nonsense’. Given the line of questioning, it would have been easy to slip into being negative, especially in the context of today’s education system. But if he’s got an issue with something, he presents a solution.

Second, his message is very clear: do the right thing and work together.

Whether we were discussing career progression, academisation, Ofsted, exclusions, workload, retention, professional development or funding, his answers had these two ideas at their heart: moral purpose and collaboration.

Little wonder he was elected by his peers to President of the Chartered College of Teaching.

I’m delighted I persuaded Stephen Munday - Chief Executive, The Cam Academy Trust and Executive Principal, Comberton Village College - to share his journey and his wisdom.

If you haven’t had the chance to see Stephen speak, or even if you have, I urge you to tune in and learn from him - one of the many excellent people at the CCOT, who are playing a crucial role in raising the status of the profession.

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Moral purpose and collaboration

Below I’ve summarised the issues Stephen thinks can be addressed by these two ideas alongside some snippets of what he said.

1. On career building

“For me, it comes down to absolute core points. What you do have to keep reminding yourself is, 'Why did you come into this profession in the first place?' It probably wasn't for an easy life, and to earn a cheap buck, or if it was, you probably left quite quickly.”

2. Academisation

“There was also, in the early days, “Will you work with another school, typically one in challenging circumstances?” We said, "Yeah, we should do that."

3. Ofsted

“Well, if we're talking particularly about the suggestion that the whole of the curriculum matters for, and we want to use the phrase 'whole education, broad education', and the arts, and technology, and physical education, and other areas, matter very significantly, as well as, the more obvious core academic subjects, absolutely, right.”

4. Exclusions

“If a school just suddenly started going rogue, and suddenly said: "We're going to permanently exclude". First of all, we'd say, "But you can't. We don't do that. That's not how it works around here!"

5. Workload and retention

“And if it's too much, and it is not clearly contributing to a great education in school, I've got to ask myself, "Hang on a moment! Why? Why are we doing this?"

6. Professional Development

“I think it's so important that all schools are outward-looking, that we do deliberately make sure we're part of networks, and we don't become insular within our own school and close doors there, within our own trust and close doors there because that's unhealthy. But you're just missing out on so much as well.”

7. Funding

“So, whatever matters, boy oh boy, does education and does teaching matter?! Because, ultimately, we live in a democracy. And if all of us believe that, guess what, resource is going to be prioritised.”

8. His message to headteachers

“I want a wonderful and a great education for anyone that I might be deemed to have responsibility for, and I really want to engage with fellow professionals in making that happen? Actually, having a satisfied professional community because they know that they're doing that. Is that driving what I'm up to?"

9. The future

I’m not going to quote him on this one. You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out ;)

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💬 Join the conversation. Stephen isn’t on social media and Twitter is the poorer for it. But I know that @AlisonMPeacock and @JoeTreacy would love to hear from you about his interview. You can also tweet @CharteredColl and me @NiallAlcock. We’d love to know what you think.

If you liked what you heard, please can I ask you share this link with your colleagues and friends in teaching?

📰If you’re reading this as a public post, get access to all future episodes before anyone else as well as insights and links to resources from our inspiring guests by subscribing here 📧

The best ‘In Beta’ bits

Existing subscribers, you’ll know this but if you joined recently or you’re reading this as public post…

We Are In Beta is a positive space that aims to capture the knowledge of inspiring school leaders so we can all keep learning.

Every episode, I curate the practical strategies and solutions to the challenges they’ve faced so you don’t miss out on them - the partnerships, the programmes, the books and the blogs.

Stephen has kindly shared:

  1. The book that’s had the biggest influence on his career

  2. An internal Cam Academy Trust document that lays out their intentions for the IT strategy he talks about in his episode.

  3. A personal message with an offer about CCOT fellowship nominations

I’ll also include a message from the Membership Team at The Chartered College about how to get a free copy of Impact.

If you’d like to access these resources and learn how other school leaders would tackle the bug issues in education:

Get involved in the community

Over the past couple of months, with your help, I’ve collected dozens of inspiring stories, which I can’t wait to tell in the next series.

Thank you!

But I want to hear and tell more.

🙋🎙️ If you’d like tell your story or nominate a school with an incredible story to tell on the podcast check out the topics we’ll be exploring or tweet me @niallalcock with what you’re working on.

🙋📰 Not ready to share your story on the mic but still want to share what you are doing in your school with the community? Let me know and I’ll include it in community news.

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

Speak soon,


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