It was a cold and crisp November morning when our flight touched down in Dublin. Our first Tri-Nations Middle Leadership Symposium was to be held in Maynooth, a short drive away. It was a great opportunity for a couple of days of collaborative work with like-minded people, sharing our knowledge and experience about effective middle leadership practice. The first day was expertly facilitated by the wonderful Professor Christine Forde with a selection of delegates from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We worked collaboratively to build our understanding and to identify key issues of middle leadership. We discussed some of the common facilitating and hindering factors in the development of middle leadership across the three nations. We then proposed strategies and actions to strengthen system capacity and support for aspiring and serving middle leadership.
Later that day we had the opportunity to visit ‘An Chomhairle Mhúinteoireachta’ – The Teaching Council of Ireland, where we met Tomás Ó Ruairc, who gave us a very interesting overview of the work that it does.
On day two our hosts, the Centre for School Leadership in Ireland, gave us the opportunity to visit local schools. What an amazing experience! We split into two groups – our secondary colleagues visited the fantastic Celbridge Community School. Along with my primary colleagues I was privileged to be given a warm welcome from the pupils and staff of Mary Mother of Hope Senior School. The school choir treated us to a rendition of their school song as we arrived, and we even encountered some new experiences with sessions in Gaelic football and hurling! The highlight of the morning for me was sharing a lesson with a class of pupils who talked us through their learning, and one group even taught us some basic Irish.
As the symposium came to a close, there was a strong consensus that this alliance must continue. We enjoyed great dialogue and there was significant positivity and energy from all involved. We learned so much from each other and felt we were all working towards the same goal to ensure improved leadership capacity for the future.
Sue Roberts, Academy Associate & Headteacher at Ysgol Ffordd Dyffryn