AN Ellesmere Port school is continuing to lead the way by setting examples for others to follow.

Following two Ofsted monitoring visits, Woodlands Primary School was lauded as a model of excellence for schools as the leadership team's summary document was shared far and wide.

Headteacher Dr Victoria Carr offered a range of support to education staff nationwide struggling during Covid lockdowns; from those perhaps new to the role as headteachers or with interview preparation for newly qualified teachers, business managers and finance, to governors. In addition, she was asked to do a number of podcasts and interviews, discussed the leadership challenges that her union (NAHT) were supporting school leaders with on radio and TV interviews on local BBC, Sky News, The Sunday Politics Show and GB News.

It isn’t all the big issues that Dr Carr helps people with – she has also readily shared, and continues to share, risk assessments and planning in relation to having a school dog after Woodlands took the brave decision to have one.

Schools have tweeted her to say that they have followed the same process and indeed, now have their own! Gorgeous Gus has really lit up the school day for staff, parents and pupils alike and is clearly well cared for and trained by his school mum!

Dr Carr, no stranger to leadership and sharing insights about it, both as an officer in the British Army reserves and as a school leader, has submitted the manuscript for her first book, ‘Leading with Love’ to Routledge before Christmas, and it is due to be published in the coming months.

Investing in staff, coaching and developing leadership at every level, is at the core of Dr Carr’s philosophy. She herself is in the final year of her 3rd MA, researching leadership across a range of spectrums and what endures regardless of the aspect of life where people lead.

Deputy headteacher Sharon Liversey passed her National Professional Qualification for Headteachers (NPQH) in January, and enjoyed learning so much that she has opted to commence an MA next academic year.

School SENDCo Alice Moprhet has her NPQH and the National SENDCo award. Year 3 teacher and PE lead Daisy Roberts is also in the final year of an MA in PE and Sport, something that enriches and informs her role in school. Two teaching assistant are pursuing degrees, supported by the school, while Ann Wilkinson, Natalie Stringer and three of the leadership team – Mrs Laura Dutton, Miss Lottie Tyrer and Miss Emily Skillen – are completing leadership qualifications (either apprenticeships or NPQSLs).

Dr Carr has also done several leadership training programmes and talks, with a range of people and universities, including University of Cumbria; various settings across the military estate, from her unit in Manchester to servicewomen networks (recently receiving an award from the Defence Women’s Network), Army Foundation College Harrogate, to Army Training Centre Pirbright, to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (recently receiving a letter from the 1st Sea Lord).

All of the staff consistently modelling expectations means the culture of the school is such that children want to take on leadership roles and future roles in society.

The school's Pupil Parliament is an active and thriving body of young people who are invested in their environment, their learning and development.

This enables us to encourage children to understand democratic process and how they can effect change but is only one part of how pupils become engaged.

Commando Joes (the character development programme employed by the school) also gives children the skills for life that they need to become resilient, adaptable, positive members of society, for example.