Inspiring to be… an Academy Headteacher’

Our ‘Inspiring to be….’ series is about gaining an insight in to the different careers and roles within our schools. There are undoubted challenges to working in front line education today, and we wanted to talk to some of the inspiring people about their roles, challenges and why they are passionate about what they do.
In this interview Alex Prior, Principal at Etonbury Academy, talks about his role and how teaching and interacting students remains a primary passion.

This time we caught up with Alex Prior – Principal of Etonbury Academy regarding a typical day in the life of a school principal…


Tell us about your role as a School Principal and what a typical day looks life

I arrive at school at 7am in the morning and a typical day will finish at 5.30pm. On a daily basis things are very different, and no two days are the same. I feel I have to be a jack of all trades, not necessarily being about to do everything as a school principal, but being able to delegate work out across my senior leadership team.  I conduct 2 full SLT meetings a week to discuss our plans for the week ahead and 2 morning SLT morning to discuss any issues that day that need to be addressed immediately

What are the aspects that you enjoy most about being a Principal?

The students are fantastic in the school and a lot of different personalities. I really enjoy the school life and the curriculum. I have this year really enjoyed the new build project that has recently been built. I have not had a timetable of lessons to deliver this year due to other commitments and due to a lot of meetings with key stake holders, I have covered lessons when needed at short notice. My favourite lesson to deliver is Media and English. I also enjoy putting together projects for the students to focus on and to deliver.

What are the most challenging aspects of your role?

The most challenging aspects of the role I would say are, that education policy changes every few years, so we start to implement the changes that have been put into place, then we have to go back to the drawing board to then implement new changes.  Parents can be a challenge with managing student behaviour and maintaining good relationships with them.  Funding has been a real challenge in terms of recruitment, this year we have advertised all of our teaching positions via social media and been very successful in driving the right candidates forward and only spending a few hundred pounds.

What skills and attributes do you need to be a principal?

You need to be able to think on your feet and be a problem solver. You need to be resilient and always remain professional at all times and in situations. I always get behind all of my staff to be the best they can be.


What advice would you give a Deputy Head or Assistant Head wanting to step up into a Headship position?

I would say that you need to know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses as an individual. You need to always accept you can’t do everything and that you need to delegate to others in order to be efficient. I would also advice that you capitalise on others strengths within the school and take ideas from other leaders to be able to be efficient in all areas.

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