Twelve months has passed since I embarked on my journey as Research Lead and what a year it has been! I have had the best time since taking on this role and I feel that teaching and learning in my own classroom has been revolutionised as a result. I wanted to take this opportunity to take stock of the challenges and successes of the last twelve months and hope that this personal reflection will inspire just one person to take a leap of faith and push themselves out of their comfort zone.

If I am being totally honest, I did not fully know what I was applying for when I applied for the role of Research Lead twelve months ago. All I knew was that I was ready for a challenge. I had worked as an ITT mentor for many years as well as being an Associate Tutor for Edge Hill University PGCE course on my ‘day off’. This opportunity really shaped me into the teacher I am today and forced me to reflect on a regular basis about the quality of teaching and learning in my classroom. I consistently  asked myself ‘how can I be better?’. I definitely developed a passion for teacher training and development over the years and I felt that this role as Research Lead offered a window of opportunity to life outside my classroom. I knew that I wanted to contribute to staff development in a way that was bigger than just my classroom., to inspire people to ask themselves the same question that I often asked myself: ‘how can I be better?’.

My role has evolved so much over the last twelve months and I have been given an incredible amount of support and freedom from SLT to take this role in a direction that suited me. I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of ResearchEd events as well as visit a number of network schools to learn more about the role and how the role can be used as a driving force for sustainable improvements across a school. I have been given the opportunity to contribute to the staff CPD programme and introduce new initiatives such as our staff #AlwaysLearning Newsletter, Reading Briefing and Lesson Study as a way of peer-to-peer observation. Furthermore, I have gained the TDT Advanced Practitioner of Lesson Study professional accreditation, which is a fantastic achievement. It has been the most wonderful CPD opportunity and I definitely feel that I am a better teacher because of this opportunity.

I am extremely excited for the next 12 months of my journey and the challenges and opportunities that it will bring. I feel blessed to work in a school that strives to always be the best at everything it does. I feel grateful to have such supportive colleagues around me when things are challenging, but most of all I continue to be inspired by the wonderful middle and senior leaders at Culcheth High School who always strive to be the best version of themselves to ensure that our students can succeed. Every day, I continue to be inspired to ask myself ‘how can I be better?’

Miss J Lomax, Research Lead