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Meet the Principal: Sandra Miles, Principal of Harris Sixth Form

I’ve worked at Harris for 26 years – since Harris City Technology College was established at Crystal Palace.

I’ve had the opportunity to work across all the sites, was a founder member of the centralised team and have been interim principal at Harris Academy Bromley and Principal of Harris Aspire.

When I was Principal of Aspire, a hub for alternative education provision, I helped to drive the academy’s goal of turning students’ lives around. Students come to Aspire for a variety of reasons, but the majority have had less than positive experiences of the education system. The Academy works hard to engage them into learning and give them a chance to be successful.

Working at Harris Aspire means you have to be prepared for a tough but rewarding time – staff need to be able to deal with the highs and lows that the students bring with them and never be fazed by what they’re presented with. You need to be a team player and take on whatever is best for the academy, staff and, most importantly, students – who are challenging but appreciative of all we do.

I’m also Principal of Harris Sixth Form, which is a unique set up where sites truly work together as a team to give students the best outcomes, allowing them to move on in their lives with the widest range of options. It’s an amazing experience to work with people who are truly focused on this vision.

Joining the Harris Sixth Form team is a unique role, and not being based in any one academy can be quite daunting – establishing yourself as a leader is not an easy task when you are working with a plethora of talented staff. Anyone applying for a central role needs to be confident in their ability to communicate effectively and be an expert in the sixth form world.

I’ve loved every minute of working at the Harris Federation – it’s where I really developed all the key skills required as a leader and manager. You never feel alone, and if you’re having a tough day there is always someone to support you and guide you along the right path. There are excellent opportunities for promotion and it’s great to work with people who are all committed to ensuring students have positive outcomes and experiences.

The Harris Federation looks after its staff, rewarding and developing excellence. It’s hard work, but very satisfying – you land running and keep going! Harris has invested in me, and I hope I’m now giving something back with the wealth of experience I’ve gained.

My top three qualities when looking for a teacher:

"For me, it’s all about inspiring and enthusing students through confidence, passion and strong subject knowledge."

Visit our current vacancies page to see the latest job opportunities at Harris Aspire or Harris Sixth Form, or contact the careers team on careers@harrisfederation.org.uk.

 

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