Ruth takes apprenticeship learning back to school

Headteacher Ruth Webster has gained valuable leadership and strategic skills from Lancaster University Management School’s senior leader apprenticeship to help her lead her school at a time of unprecedented challenges.

Ruth, head at St Paul’s C of E Junior School, in Barrow-in-Furness, has studied for her two-year Apprenticeship against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

That has provided new challenges both in terms of her role at St Paul’s and her learning. But the support from the team at the quadruple accredited and world-ranked LUMS, meant Ruth was able to sail the stormy waters and acquire new abilities and knowledge.

“I have benefited from the additional guidance during a global pandemic,” said Ruth, who worked through the Leading Beyond Covid unit as part of her learning. “So much of what I took for granted has been flipped on its head, and so it has been very helpful to have the opportunity to reflect on significant change within the context of the Apprenticeship.

“Within the school, I have been able to reflect and respond to the changes caused by the pandemic and to the operational and strategic goals of the school.”

Lancaster’s Senior Leader Apprenticeship offers a flexible, work-based programme blending in-person and online learning, shaped around students’ work schedules, and giving them insight and skills that can be applied immediately in their professional roles.

“The Apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to reflect on the leadership skills I already have, and I have been given the support to improve my skills for future development,” added Ruth. “I think I have made wiser decisions as a result of my involvement in the programme. I also think that, as we move forward, the Apprenticeship will provide strong strategic direction.

“Studying for the Apprenticeship complements my role as headteacher, and the study has been challenging but rewarding. The module on models for managing change is very beneficial, and I have been able to implement changes fairly rapidly.

“I would wholeheartedly recommend the Apprenticeship to anyone considering it. It provides the opportunity for professionals to consolidate and expand their skills for the benefit of their organisation and themselves.”

Lancaster University’s new Senior Leader Apprenticeship offers professional development for current and aspiring senior leaders – with optional pathways to a full Executive MBA or MSc Leadership Practice.  The Apprenticeship is fully funded through the Apprenticeship Levy.