My role as a Headteacher Ambassador

by Lisa Fathers, Head of Teaching School and Co-Principal for Bright Futures Educational Trust
My role as a Headteacher AmbassadorLisa Fathers is Head of Teaching School and Co-Principal for Bright Futures Educational Trust (BFET) and a Youth Sport Trust Headteacher Ambassador (YST) as well as on the Board at Youth Sport Direct (YSD). Lisa also Co-Chairs the Headteacher Alliance for PE/Sport/Wellbeing in Greater Manchester:

I’ve always been passionate about education and sport – these areas have a huge impact on children and young people and have the power to change people’s lives.

I love my job! The role, like anyone’s at a high level, can be busy, but I believe that keeping fit can help to alleviate some of life’s pressures. I’m a mum of two children and as a qualified spin instructor, teach classes at the weekend. I also love running and practice mindful running. Having some ‘me time’ makes me feel good physically and mentally.  I believe that PE/Sport should be at the heart of all schools as it has a huge impact on culture, ethos and wellbeing. I have always felt that the YST ethos of sport changing lives easily sits alongside my personal beliefs.  I think the YST is a wonderful organisation, Sue Campbell has had a huge influence on me.

As Associate Headteacher at my previous school, I led the work with the YST and Chaired the ‘Local Organising Committee’ for Greater Manchester School Games. I was thrilled when I was asked to become part of the YST Headteacher Alliance, which I continue to be part of today. The main focus is supporting Headteachers to realise the positive impact sport can have on young people.

Across Greater Manchester, we have managed to get a huge amount of Headteachers to pledge their support to this movement and we really want to ensure that we have a local response to what PE/sport looks like in our local area. BFET became a YST partner last year and all our schools joined YST. In summer we enjoyed our first Trust-wide Sports Day which was a great collaborative, yet competitive, event and a lovely opportunity to come together through sport.

I find opportunities to bring sport and education together and enjoyed speaking at the English Institute of Sport Pathways Symposium ‘Parents and Carers as part of the support network’.  I was asked to contribute an educational perspective on ‘Parental Engagement’ to share some similarities and parallels that the world of sport could learn from. I spoke to elite athlete pathway managers across many sports about strategies to involving parents and what it looks like when it’s done really well and some potential consequences when parents aren’t involved. I recognise that parents of talented athletes give a lot of time and energy and I raised some thoughts around how this is celebrated. 

I drew upon my experiences as Co-Principal across BFET as we have a wide spread of types of schools in the Trust and parental engagement is so different at every school. The same can be said of different sports. BFET is a multi-academy Trust with nine schools in the network. I run the Teaching School, which the YST is a strategic partner of too. 

Our main priority at BFET is to keep all schools moving in the right direction and continue the improvement we’ve seen in the last 12 months. It’s an exciting time. For the Teaching School we have responded to need and launched a Mental Health First Aid course, and we are supporting schools to develop capacity in this area.

The recent celebration of Olympians and Paralympians in Manchester gave pupils from four BFET schools the opportunity to be involved and lead the parade. This was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime occasion and I was so thrilled for them. Sport is about role models and aspirations and being the best you can be.

My wish list……would be that all schools keep PE/sport at the heart of everything they do.   That’s the message I’m shouting out in my role as a YST Headteacher Ambassador. I love being part of a network that is driving change across the country. Here’s to many more years to come… if you’ll have me!  

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