Meet Hethersett Academy’s new PrincipalBack
Jane Diver has worked at Hethersett Academy for seven years and has now been promoted from Vice Principal to Principal. She will be taking over from Gareth Stevens, who has also been promoted, and will be the Inspiration Trust’s new Secondary Director. We’ve been talking to Ms Diver about her inspiration, career and what she’s looking forward to in her first headship.
Why did you become a teacher?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher – it’s in the family. When I was a child, my grandmother was the Head of Mathematics at a large grammar school in Lanarkshire, Scotland. She had a big influence on me and would tell me lots of stories about the teaching profession. She was very well regarded by the community, parents and students she worked with – and that’s something that’s important to me in my career too. The community.
A memory from my childhood which stays with me, is two young teachers visiting my grandparents’ house and explaining to me what an inspirational teacher my grandmother was and what a difference she had made to their teaching careers and the lives of many children. From that moment, I knew that teaching was for me.
What was your first job?
In my late teens, before I qualified as a teacher, I worked as a sports coach. It was my first experience of working with young people.
How long have you been Vice Principal at Hethersett?
I have been Vice Principal at Hethersett Academy for three years. But I have been on the Hethersett Academy Leadership team since 2013, originally as an Assistant Principal.
Name three things you’re most looking forward to in your new role as principal
That’s a tough question, as there’s lots of things. I’d have to say:
Working with talented staff and students
Working with a supportive community
Improving student learning and education from a position of influence
Why did you want to have your first headship to be at Hethersett Academy?
I honestly have to say it’s because of our children. They are a great group and I’m proud of how hard they work every day – it’s a great environment to be in. In addition, I have established relationships with the children, families and the community of Hethersett, which I am passionate about building on and feel there is still much more to do.
You completed the Inspiration Trust’s Aspiring to Headship Course. Tell us a little about it.
I really wanted to become a Principal and the Trust I’m a part of runs a course to prepare you for it. During the course I learnt from other outstanding schools and experienced leaders of education.
The course involved a series of workshops around branding, finance, leadership, marketing and personal development. All of the workshops were run by successful principals and chief executives of multi-academy trusts.
During every session, I learnt new tools to apply to school improvement. The sessions were informative and also challenged my thinking. It was very different to other courses I have attended in preparation for headship - it wasn't paperwork or project-based but instead it was a very thorough practical introduction.
Congratulations! You were the first person to complete the Aspiring to Headship Course and become a Principal.
Yes! Being the first Principal to graduate from the course is a fantastic feeling. But, for me, my decision to become a principal was most about leading the right school -and Hethersett is certainly that from my perspective.