Create: Middle Leaders Case study

Trent Ray

Leading Teacher at St Helena Secondary College

When Trent Ray was appointed eLearning Leading Teacher at St Helena Secondary College this year there were a number of things he knew. He knew he needed to think strategically about how to approach his new role; he knew he needed to establish credibility with his team; he knew all this would take some time; and perhaps most of all, he knew there were things he needed to learn about being a successful leader.

​The Bastow Create: Middle Leaders program filled this gap, transforming Trent’s approach to his work and giving him the tools and skills he needs to constantly reflect and refine the way he leads and transforms teacher practice.



Create: Middle Leaders program at Bastow InstituteYTPMW-uJdaI Middle Leaders program at Bastow InstituteLeading teacher Trent Ray of St Helena Secondary College shares his experience of the Create: Middle Leaders program and how it's helping him as a leader in his school. /captions/YTPMW-uJdaI.vtt<div class="ExternalClass9028EC668B48485781158FB7D826E741"><div>​Hi, my name is Trent Ray. I'm from St Helena Secondary College and I'm the Curriculum Innovation leading teacher.</div><div><br></div><div>I'm currently participating in the Bastow Institute's Middle leaders Create program whereby I am really excited to be participating in a course that allows me to develop my leadership skills.</div><div><br></div><div>I decided to participate in this course because I was looking for an opportunity to develop myself as a new leader. I'm new to my school and new to leadership so hoping to learn more about ways to be strategic in the way that I lead and also help me to establish some credibility with my staff that I'm intending to lead this year. </div><div><br></div><div>As a curriculum innovator, my role involves a lot of integrating technology into the curriculum. It's a big challenge in schools today trying to support staff with actually transforming the way that they use technology in the classroom. The program's really supported me in my ability to be able to come up with a bit of a plan to be able to strategically lead.</div><div><br></div><div>I think it's giving me an opportunity to be a lot more reflective in the way that I approach my leadership and it's really allowed me to then obviously transfer that into my leadership back at school to be able to support and drive curriculum innovation here at St Helena. </div><div><br></div><div>This year we've implemented a really exciting program called the Create and Collaborate with Technology project, enabling staff to work in an ongoing basis through some of the pedagogies that we've discussed in the leading program. So enabling staff to have that ongoing support over a period of time has really seen a huge shift in their transformation of practice and that certainly being modelled for the way that the Bastow program is actually designed to have ongoing support for the program participants.</div><div><br></div><div>So the Middle Leaders program is all about contextualising learning for yourself. Whilst we are certainly covering general leadership, we have the opportunity to implement the things that we're currently trying to achieve in our own schools and I think that that's what differs from other programs is this professional learning is all about what you're doing in your school in your context and the opportunity to really work to strategise and develop a process for how you're leading in your school so there is yes a level of content that we cover in the course but we also are able to personalise the learning in our change endeavours to suit what we're doing back at school and being able to participate in the program over a period of time means that you've got that ongoing support from the leaders of the course and also the other teachers that you're working with in the program.</div><div><br></div><div>I would highly recommend this course to any leader in a school. I think it's important to be open to learning, be willing to be reflective and take the time to reflect on your practice and also be comfortable with being challenged.</div><div><br></div><div>You only get what you put in with this course and if you're willing to be open and excited for a learning journey, I'd highly recommend it.</div></div>

The Create program is designed for teachers who are responsible for leading other educators in improving teaching practice and student learning. Participants may be in formal or informal leadership roles and they have the opportunity to lead a change project or work with a team of colleagues focusing on professional learning or curriculum development.  

Create made it possible for Trent to see issues from a broad perspective, to really notice in a purposeful way what was happening in his school, and to appreciate the importance of gathering evidence to support the changes and initiatives he leads.

“The Create course taught me to take stock and notice what was happening in my school,” says Trent. “I learned to really understand the difference between good and great learning, and that listening to the school’s stakeholders would uncover invaluable evidence about the way students want to learn and the way they will learn best.”

Create contextualises learning to each participant’s school and complements this with a highly collaborative approach that guides middle leaders towards solutions to their own educational and leadership challenges. Participants collaborate to improve student learning outcomes and to develop learning priorities that will work, on the ground, in their schools.

“Create transformed my practice by giving me the opportunity to connect with other educators, to share challenges and stories and to learn from one another,” Trent says.

Trent is leading the use of technology in the curriculum in his school and the Create course had a direct and positive impact on the way he now performs this role. His colleagues and students now experience a stronger focus on the impact of learning, as opposed to the previous model of using demonstrations for teaching how to use technical tools.

“We now question why we are doing what we’re doing, and we interrogate how technology can transform the way students learn,” he said.

Trent found the workshop days provided ongoing, systematic support and also meant that participants were able to evaluate and embed learning into their practice in between workshops, and to reflect on its effectiveness when applied in their schools. For him the course had the perfect balance of research, reflection, and resource sharing, coupled with the opportunity to work with other leaders.

His advice to others who are considering applying for the program is to make sure they are open to learning; open to reflecting on their own practice; that they are self regulating and comfortable with taking risks – getting out of their comfort zone – as this is where the best learning can happen.

For more information: Create: Middle Leaders​