Lisa grew up and was educated in Suffolk, and that’s where her ambition to be a teacher started.
"Being a quiet shy girl at school, I was inspired by the teachers in my school that had an active, fun, exciting and purposeful attitude. It is teachers like that, which made a difference on my learning and made me want to make a difference."
Lisa then went on to study at Kingston University and graduated in 1999 with a BEd in Primary Education.
"My placements were based in London which proved to be valuable experience. It provided me with the opportunity to work with a range of learners and showed me that anything is possible."
Starting as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT)
For Lisa’s year as an NQT, she decided to return to Suffolk.
"I completed my year as an NQT in a school in Ipswich and stayed there for a further 7 years. I taught a variety of years and decided to stay there because the school not only provided me with a range of opportunities, but was also led by a good Senior Leadership Team, who were happy for teachers to develop."
After working her way up to becoming an English Leader and Phase Co-ordinator in Ipswich, Lisa moved on to become a Key Stage 1 Leader at a primary school in Stowmarket, as well as being Lead for Literacy and Assessment.
"I enjoyed being a leader and experiencing the impact and difference it made."
What did you learn from moving to a new school and the change of role?
"There's a range of ways of doing things, each school is unique and there isn’t one way of teaching and achieving. As a leader, I also learnt the importance of communication, sharing expectations with staff, and making sure they're involved."
Three years after becoming a Key Stage 1 Leader, Lisa was offered a Deputy Headship post in Bury St Edmunds.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become a Deputy Headteacher?
"Take all the experiences of different schools, years, and classrooms with you and believe in yourself and others."
Becoming a Headteacher
Lisa became Headteacher at Risby Primary School in September 2014.
In the lead up to taking the new role, she underwent a range of training including the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) by the National College of Training and Leadership and the 'Ready for Headship' and 'Aspiring Heads' courses, run by Suffolk County Council.
"They were really helpful in preparing you to be ready and become successfully appointed as a Headteacher. It prepares you for the role and enables you to handle different situations which you may not have been in before."
How has your first school year been?
"It’s been really good and I've enjoyed it. I like being able to see that the changes which have been made are having an impact on the children, and you feel like you’re making a difference."
What peer support have you received as a new Headteacher?
"The school is part of the Bury Schools Partnership, so I am very lucky to have a network of support from peers in nearby schools."
What continuing professional development (CPD) have you undertaken in your school since becoming a Headteacher?
"As a school, we like to be forward thinking and look outwards to seize different opportunities. This could be by visiting outstanding schools, both inside and outside of the county, or learning different techniques and styles from each other’s lessons. We've also enrolled on the good to unstoppable programme through the local authority, which is a professional dialogue where we share practices with 3 different schools."
Why do you think Headteachers should come to Suffolk?
"The children are so keen and enthusiastic. Not only do they push themselves and have a great attitude to learning, but they want to make good progress and take ownership over their learning. At our school, we've very supportive parents and they're happy to work with you. We've an activity afternoon each week and parents will actively come in and support the afternoon.
"We also have a really strong governing body that are supportive and proactive, and work in collaboration with the Deputy Headteacher and I. There are also some quality younger teachers who are deciding to progress their careers in Suffolk, as well as teachers who are willing to look at new ways of doing things, take a risk, and be up for a challenge."
Why do you think teachers should consider a career in Suffolk?
"Teachers are given a tremendous amount of support and as a Headteacher, I'll give my teachers the time, support and challenges they need. The kind of teachers we want in Suffolk are the ones who want to move up the career ladder and bring their innovative experiences to benefit the children."
Map of where Risby Church of England VC Primary School is in Suffolk.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about teaching in Suffolk.