A continually Aspiring Principal
Principal, Elisabeth Johnson, has been overseeing some substantial changes at Ruskin Mill College in Gloucestershire. Since taking on the role of Principal in 2010, she invested in her management team, introduced a new way of communicating with staff and oversaw the addition to the college of a new teaching farm.
In 2009, when Elisabeth was Assistant Principal she participated in the Aspiring Principal’s and Senior Leaders’ Programme and completed Executive Leadership Development Programme, both delivered by LSIS. When Elisabeth became Principal she made changes to make her role more visible to staff. She introduced Principal’s ‘question time’ in order to offer employees an open forum for discussion and to allow for more staff inclusion in the running of the college.
She also attended the Leading Project Management workshops for, which have been created for senior and executive leaders who oversee major projects within their organisations. Held over two separate days with time in between to implement project management techniques,the programme explored topics such as delivering strategy through projects and programmes, leading projects in an operationally focused organisation, governance and assurance.
Another change she made was to nurture in-house talent. She examined her senior and middle management teams, and in recognition of some of the talent already employed at the college was able to include more members of staff on her management teams.
Speaking of her experience on the Aspiring Principals’ programme Elisabeth said: “It gave me more confidence and the opportunity to share experiences with others who were in a similar position to me.
“It gave me the space to think about my development as a leader, and to think about issues such as quality assurance, to have clearer expectations of project management and develop good communications structures.”
However, one of the biggest changes the college has seen since Elisabeth became Principal was the inclusion of Plas Dwbl Farm College, Pembrokeshire, Wales, which is a satellite of Ruskin Mill College. The project offers a curriculum of land work, animal husbandry, gardening and forestry, as well as the ancillary crafts that support the operation of the farm. With one academic year under its belt the small provision is flourishing and has begun to grow strong links with the local community, including the National Parks.
The Leading Project Management workshops for senior leaders are being held again on 24 January and 6 March 2013, in Birmingham. The workshops are being led by expert consultants David Hart and Jane Royden, who have significant experience of working in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Contact LSIS for further information.
Last updated: 14 January 2013