Meet our people: Zoe Howells, History Consultant
I loved my subject so much and wanted to carry on with it, but I didn’t want to go academia – so teaching was the clear choice. I was – and still am! – passionate about how the more I learnt the more I understood the world, and I was convinced of the importance of giving that opportunity to students.
Harris’ reputation for no excuses, ensuring excellence and refusing to settle resonated with me as a teacher and a Head of Department, so joining the Federation made sense. What’s more, because the role of History consultant is one that exists so rarely elsewhere, I was hugely motivated when I saw it – it made me realise how forward-thinking Harris was about what is needed in education right now.
As a consultant, I have had the chance to work with a wide range of History departments and members of SLT across the Federation, which gives me plenty of opportunities to observe inspiring practice. More formally, I have shadowed other subject consultants and have an excellent line manager who oversees improvement in all our secondary academies – she has also been a consultant and is very insightful about the importance of ensuring excellence in individual subject disciplines. I am now on the second cohort of the Fast-Track to Principalship programme, where a structured course gives us plenty of high quality training in the type of whole-school issues you will face when you become a Principal.
Because I work with so many different people in different positions across the Federation, one of my biggest challenges has been to understand how different academies function and what the culture is there. Each academy is autonomous, so it is important to adapt what I do to make sure it is tailor-made for each academy rather than trying to implement blanket ways of doing things from the centre. Principals and members of SLT have been very giving of their time to help me understand each school. The other subject consultants are also a huge source of support and knowledge.
At Harris, you will work hard, but you will learn so much and be working with the very best people who will challenge you. Alongside this, you will have the support that the Federation provides its academies, which is second to none. This support just isn’t mimicked anywhere else. We have created great networks – by subject, with multiple CPD opportunities per year of the very best quality. You will be looked after at each stage of your career and you will be pushed to great things and challenged to get even better.
You will be part of something huge, but your individual input is what makes the Federation so strong.