Review by Jill Berry

11 Mar 2018, 5:00

Jill Berry’s top blogs of the week 5 March 2018

Reviewer Jill Berry shares her favourite edu-blogs this week


The WomenEd book club, non-binary bias and the affair Penelope didn’t have

After the inaugural #WomenEd online book club discussion on Mary Beard’s Women and power on January 28, Penny Rabiger explores issues of gender and voice.

“One of the things that troubles me is how we manage to tackle these issues without polarising into men and women, good and bad, feminist and sexist, and without alienating people,” she writes.

She discusses the importance of understanding socialisation and conditioning (to which we are all subject, whether we accept it or not), how and why we categorise, and why we need to be alert to the ways in which categorisation can be misleading and even unhealthy. Penny is saying what I think, but she has the flair to express it so much more skilfully than I could.


What do I tell my young performers when they ask me if they should go into the performing arts industry?

In this blog, from the Independent Schools Council website, a head of drama considers the advice she gives to students who want to pursue a career in the performing arts. Melanie Stamp understands that this is an industry which is “brutal and elitist” and that anyone venturing into it requires resilience and strong support networks.

She recognises how recent revelations have raised our awareness of the extent of sexual harassment and bullying across the arts and media world, and knows how all this may well deter the talented and committed.

However, she loves her subject, and concludes that this is a time of change and opportunity: “Now is the time to encourage our young people to take theatre in a new direction for the future they want to see.


Introverted leadership – Harnessing your authentic ambition

Anna’s post is based on her presentation at a #WomenEd event in Birmingham on January 20. She spoke about her professional journey, how she felt the need to act the part of a more outgoing person in order to be taken seriously as an aspiring leader, until “from a point where I felt that my current leadership ‘act’ wasn’t enough, and was questioning whether I had the energy to act some more, I found a different path and decided to be more me, not less”.

She talks of how networking with others can help to give us the confidence to flourish as authentic leaders, teachers and human beings.


Values-led leadership: Moving from surviving to thriving

Headteacher Hannah describes recent events she has attended and advice she has shared with educators at all levels, focusing on the importance of values and “the things I wish I had known earlier in my career, the insights I have gained through my tumultuous leadership journey over the last few years”.

These include the value of reflection, the power of coaching, why we need never to lose sight of our “non-negotiables”, and how, if we do this, we can navigate difficult change. I found this inspiring.


The MaternityTeacherPaternityTeacher project at #TLCWorcs18

Claire Nicholls’ post is also based on a presentation, one I was privileged to hear at #TLC (Teaching, Leadership, Confidence) in Worcester in February.

Claire has been involved in the #MTPTproject since the time of her own maternity leave, and she writes here about how the initiative developed, what it is trying to achieve and why it is well worth supporting, whatever your personal circumstances. Claire’s presentation and this blog made me think, and encouraged me to challenge some of my own assumptions.


The first 19 lessons of headship

A bonus final piece comes from Independent Thinking Ltd. I read and tweeted this recently and the number of comments and retweets it generated suggested it had clearly struck a chord. The first 19 lessons (originally 15, but the list has grown) of headship. See what you think.

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