Boost to support more women into school leadership for Somerset

Two Somerset teaching alliances have joined forces to help tackle the under-representation of women in school leadership roles.


Although teaching is dominated by a female workforce, just 65 per cent of headteachers are women and this drops to just 36 per cent at secondary schools in England. Working in partnership The Affinity Teaching Alliance and The Redstart Teaching Alliance have launched a new programme to match female teachers with coaches and mentors to help them kick start a path towards becoming a headteacher or head of department.

The first in a series of three Women in Leadership conferences was held at Dillington House last week to discuss the issues, decide on individual projects, and match teachers with mentors.

Head teacher at The Castle in Taunton and lead of The Affinity Teaching Alliance Sarah Watson said:

“Women are often put off applying for senior roles as they think that career breaks or working part-time hours may count against them.  This new programme aims to foster support for female teachers in Somerset and Dorset and celebrate what we’ve already achieved.

“I strongly believe that no one should be overlooked because they work less hours or have taken a career-break.  Our new programme with The Redstart Teaching Alliance will help every female teacher in Somerset and Dorset reach their full potential.”

Sarah Watson Castle School
Sarah Watson. The Castle School

Tanya Gibbs is Head of year 10 at The Gryphon School in Sherbourne.  She was one of 30 delegates to attend the introductory session of Women in Leadership and commented:

The Women in Leadership programme has given me the confidence to apply for roles in school which I may have been apprehensive about previously. Sarah Watson and Suzanne Flack are incredibly inspirational leaders and delivered a real insight on what to expect in a senior role, as well as allowing time for me to reflect on visions and values that I believe to be important within a secondary school. The communication between myself and my coach has also enabled me to take on projects at my current school in order to provide me the stepping stones needed to move forward in my career. The programme is exceptional and I am finding it an invaluable experience.”