Sudbury business Bright Field Consulting at forefront of initiative to bring more women into top teaching jobs
A Sudbury business which specialises in education leadership and coaching is part of a national initiative to encourage more women to take up top jobs in teaching.
Ian and Hilary Wigston work with schools all over the country through their business Bright Field Consulting.
Their mentoring programme is now in its second year and, at a recent conference in London, actress Juliet Stevenson, of Truly, Madly, Deeply film fame, spoke to women teachers about what it takes to be a leader.
“We brought together a truly outstanding group of speakers and workshop leaders to challenge the myths around leadership than can prevent so many women from putting themselves forward for top jobs,” said Ian.
“We also celebrated the success of the first women to participate in this powerful programme, a quarter of whom have already made significant positive shifts in their careers.”
A former corporate banker, Ian has spent years working in education consultancy and is a trustee of two multi-academy trusts, while Hilary is a former assistant headteacher and school governor.
Ian said: “Women make up the majority of the workforce in schools, yet are under-represented at headteacher level; 74 per cent of teachers are women, but just 62 per cent are in the top jobs.”
The consultancy, based in North Street, runs a mentoring programme in partnership with the Girls’ Schools Association and the Association of State Girls’ Schools.
Since launching the programme last year, more than a quarter of the 63 women teachers taking part have been promoted, said Ian.
A key feature of their work is to pair independent and state school teachers together so they can share experiences.
They are linked to high-performing mentors from the justice system, business, public service and the Army, with women receiving practical and emotional support, coaching and mentoring, as well as the opportunity to network.
As programme administrator, Ian has been commissioned by a leading publisher to write a book about the programme.