Hear from India Howlett and her career development supported by SWECET

India talks about being supported by SWECET with numerous career development opportunities, including a National Professional Qualification (NPQ) in Middle Leadership and progressing to RE Lead after beginning as a newly qualified teacher at Marshalls Park Academy (MPA) five years ago.

“I started my career as a newly qualified teacher at Marshalls Park Academy (MPA) in 2017. Having just moved to the Essex area and starting a new job with no prior experience, it was daunting joining such a small department consisting of just myself and the Head of RE. However, in just one year of joining the Trust, I was fortunate to take over the position of RE Lead and grow the department to what it is today – a subject that is now embedded within the curriculum and taught by a dedicated team of teachers who are passionate about enriching our students’ knowledge of the subject area.

With RE not being a national curriculum that’s taught in all schools, I feel grateful to have been given the power to shape our own curriculum, opening our students’ minds and challenging worldviews. The result is RE now becoming a core GCSE subject at MPA, with results consistently improving year on year.

Throughout my short time at MPA, I feel lucky to have been supported by the Trust and offered career development opportunities that have made a positive impact on my job role and support my future career ambitions of becoming a Headteacher. This includes undertaking a National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership and getting to shadow the assistant headteacher for 18 months, allowing me to become heavily involved in designing the curriculum, overseeing GCSE options and creating the school timetable. This has been a steep learning curve, but I’ve been so impressed at how quick the Trust are to shape individuals and help steer their colleagues’ career paths.

Being a subject lead can sometimes feel like an isolating job if you don’t have a large team behind you. However, being a part of the Trust has allowed me to work with other likeminded colleagues across the Trust, attend trust initiatives, share best practices and build and raise the profile of RE across our other SWECET schools.”