(Interviewed in 2020)
We caught up with Cromer Academy Principal, Darren Hollingsworthto talk about professional development.
When and why did you join the Inspiration Trust?
In Sept 2010 when Great Yarmouth High School academised to become Charter academy. I applied for the role as the school was in special measures and the ofsted report was abysmal. I wanted the challenge and knew the only way was up for the school. I knew that with Trust support, the staff would thrive and the town would have a school it could be proud of.
How has the Inspiration Trust supported your development?
Simply, the Trust has never said ‘no’ to any of my CPD requests. I have visited many schools, attended loads of training sessions and experienced leadership training that I found rewarding. What sticks out in answering this question though, is the fact that the Trust has allowed me to work with some incredible colleagues and I have developed by virtue of knowing them. Working alongside them, watching them and learning from them continues to help me develop.
Tell us about how your career has developed?
Since joining the Trust, I have taken every opportunity and my career has developed every year. From Assistant Principal to Vice Principal and now to Principal, everyday is a learning opportunity and I am keen to learn more!
Which specific aspects of the Inspiration Trust’s CPD offer had the most impact on you?
The aspiring to headship programme as it was bespoke and tailored to my areas of development. Going out and seeing other schools in action is a real eye opener and in my eyes, a great CPD experience. These visits either validated what we were already doing or gave me more ideas of what we could do next. Being at the cutting edge of the knowledge rich drive has also been invaluable. My pedagogy has changed entirely.
What would you say to someone considering applying for a job within Inspiration Trust?
Do it. Just do it. Being part of Inspiration Trust is an adventure in itself. The support network is exceptional and there is such a vast array of experience within the staff that there is always help on offer.
There is a real team spirit amongst all of the academies and colleagues very quickly become friends. I have not looked back and would recommend it to anyone.
Where do you see yourself in the Inspiration Trust in 5 years?
I honestly want to stay where I am at Cromer. I want to provide consistency and stability to the school. The idea is that we build on what has been put in place. I have big plans for our pupils and it will take time to see the impact.