Why a women only NPQH?

by Julie Hunter     @MsHMFL

I saw a tweet from Ambition School Leadership launching a women only NPQH and wondered if it would be different to a co-ed cohort? I have always wanted to do my NPQH but needed to be able to consider family circumstances too. I decided to apply, believing that I wouldn’t get a place anyway. Indeed working in a senior leadership team full of WomenEd colleagues there was a nudge and just apply attitude, which spurred me on. That 10% braver mantra stays with me from unconference 1.

I was delighted to get a place on the programme until I found out I couldn’t attend the first residential. Talking on the phone to Ambition I realised that under no circumstances did I want to defer to the next co-ed course and this women only cohort had spurred me to apply for NPQH. The snow goddess was on my side and the residential had to be rearranged. I was now on my way to residential one.

I didn’t sleep much the night before, wondering if they had made a mistake. Should I be starting NPQH? Would I be the least skilled person in the room? Had I bitten off more than I could cope with? From the moment I started to meet my new peer learning group there was a genuine professional positive regard amongst us all. A climate of we are in this together and most importantly an authentic group of educators. Egos and facades had been left outside the conference centre so that we could have meaningful, honest leadership conversations. By the first coffee break the imposter syndrome was floating away.

So why bother applying for this first ever women only NPQH? The topic of child care was spoken about in many conversations in unapologetic tones. It is an issue that needs addressing and this was a supportive environment to share experiences. A group of ambitious female leaders who realised that childcare needs solutions and is part of the decision making process every time we look at our leadership prospects.

Residential one was a success for many reasons. Firstly, having highly successful female leaders facilitating the programme helped us all see headship and believe we can do it too. Secondly, honest conversations about our obstacles and solutions to navigating the leadership choices we make as women. Thirdly, being in a room of ambitious women with a can do attitude enabled us all to notice the emotion of our powerful group. We will make a success of this opportunity and are building a network for us all to access as we step up to headship and beyond.

Thank you WomenEd for being part of this new journey. Where will this road take us all?

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