There are few educational leaders with the breadth of experience that Gill Kelly has developed in her career leading a diverse – and ever-growing – list of schools in very special circumstances. Indeed, it is the challenge of complexity - embracing it, not fighting it - that is right at the heart of Gill’s approach to education.
We first met Gill when she was a deputy in a rural secondary school going through the BSF process and were thoroughly impressed by her approach to using a new school building to transform the nature of teaching and learning. From there she took on the complex challenge of leading an inner-city school with children from 64 countries speaking 44 different languages.
For her next challenge, she worked with Associate Dave Whitaker as an Executive Principal of a PRU that was in the process of being relaunched and improved and now, in her latest manifestation, she has been headhunted to be the head of a state boarding school and leading a major school improvement push.
All of this, along with a growing international reputation in the Middle East and Asia, is why we feel Gill has something to say about the human - and humane - side of leadership that school leaders want to hear, whatever and wherever the school they lead.
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Feedback from recent events include:
"It was brilliant, the staff are all buzzing today after a great day yesterday, thank you so much!"
"Thank you again for your presentations at the CSH Conference last Friday. Over dinner, the Heads commented on the hope and warmth of your message and how you had made them think – just what I had hoped! Thank you for being so inspiring!"
"Thank you so much for working with us this afternoon. Simply having the time to think as a team was worthwhile and something I know we need to do more often. A half-termly session like the one we had this afternoon is now firmly on the agenda! Your questions and the activities we carried out reinforced the importance of some of the actions already outlined on our development plan and gave us the push we need to really focus on these areas ... and add some more ideas!I know everyone enjoyed working with you"
"I think Gill's presentation skills were brilliant. Her sense of humour was great and she managed to keep us all engaged the entire day, even after lunch."
"The day with Gill was excellent - the staff are feeding back to the SLT after the half-term about how they are taking their learning and discussions about the day forward. Her session with LSAs was exceptional when it quickly emerged that there were many underlying issues that needed to be explored - Gill adapted her plan for the session on the hoof and, through her skilful questioning, has allowed that team to have a clear and insightful voice in how the ALN team develops."
"Everyone in teaching leaders should hear Gill"
For many schools, getting parents to the school for an event is something that is only beaten in difficulty by getting the right parents to school for an event. That said, the parents who do come to our Learning and Motivation for Parents Events always head home buzzing with ideas that are not only helpful in dealing with their children but also very relevant for their own careers and personal development.
Being a governor is an incredibly important task these days so we are delighted when we are asked to support them in their work in all sorts of schools around the country. Apart from ensuring the event is an entertaining and enjoyable one for all, especialy as it is so often on a rainy Saturday, we make sure our input is informative, relevant, up to date and guarantees all governors go back into their schools knowing what to look for, what to do and the rights sorts of questions to ask.