West London teacher wins prestigious national ASCL prize

03 December 2015

Last night, a pioneering group of 100 teachers working in challenging schools across the South graduated from TL Fellows, the prestigious leadership development programme run by national education charity, Teaching Leaders and funded by the Department for Education.

Talented teachers in their early stages of leadership go through a rigorous assessment process before embarking on a challenging two-year programme, which takes place outside school time. Amongst them is Gemma Dixon from The TBAP 16-19 Academic AP Academy, West London, who has won a prize for her outstanding leadership.

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), addressed the graduating cohort during the ceremony at Senate House, University of London.

The Graduation celebrates the participants’ relentless dedication to improving the life chances of children in their schools over the two-year TL Fellows programme and the impact they have had on their pupils’ achievement. The ceremony was attended by the graduating participants and their headteachers, as well as influencers of education, including Sean Harford, National Director of Education, Ofsted, who also spoke at the ceremony.

Gemma Dixon was awarded the ASCL Leadership Prize.

During The Teaching Leaders Fellows programme Gemma was seconded as Director of Learning at another school in her academy group’s network. Faced with a new setting, Gemma rose to the challenge. Through her unparalleled commitment, leadership and clear vision, Gemma worked tirelessly as part of a small team on a bid to open a 16-19 Alternative Provision Free School, in which they were successful.

Gemma is currently the Head of School at The TBAP 16-19 Academic AP Academy, which will open in September 2016. The initial cohort will have 25 young people from across West London who have either been in alternative provision during KS4, or have some kind of education, health and care plan for social, emotional or mental health difficulties. Gemma leads a team of ten to develop the curriculum and staff as they take on their own positions of leadership.

Gemma has been commended by her coach for her demonstration of high levels of leadership, her high aspirations for her pupils and the school and her unwavering commitment to education.

Gemma said of the programme:
“Teaching Leaders has embraced the slightly unusual setting I work in from the beginning, and afforded me the most amazing opportunities to learn and develop as a school leader. The expertise amongst my cohort was tremendous.”

Seamus Oates, TBAP Executive Headteacher/CEO, said:
"Everyone within TBAP is incredibly proud that Gemma has been honoured and recognised for her outstanding leadership. We congratulate her on this achievement and thank Teaching Leaders for their support and guidance in developing great leaders within Alternative Provision."

ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman said:
“As the professional association for leaders in schools and colleges, ASCL encourages and support leadership development at all levels, which is why we are so pleased to work with Teaching Leaders and to sponsor this award.

“It is a pleasure to award this prize to someone as deserving as Gemma, who has been commended for her outstanding leadership skills, unfailing enthusiasm and positivity which has inspired all who work with her. Our huge congratulations go to Gemma and all the Fellows programme graduates.”

CEO of Teaching Leaders, James Toop, said:
“I am incredibly proud of what Gemma has achieved. We have seen her challenge and develop her own leadership over the two years, and she will continue to develop herself and others in the future through what she’s learned on the Fellows programme. This is an exciting time to be part of the movement with recognition of the vital role middle leaders play as, to quote Sir Michael Wilshaw, the ‘engine room’ of the school.”

As this Cohort graduates, Teaching Leaders welcomes another 430 secondary and 390 primary middle leaders from schools in challenging contexts across England, as they start their professional development journey through the TL Fellows and TL Primary programmes.