University trains future potential Children’s Services Directors

Child on tricycle

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 15:23:00 BST

The contract is to develop the leadership skills of 90 staff from different sectors across the region who aspire to become Senior Leaders and Directors of Children’s Services.  Known as the ‘Senior Leadership Development Programme’, the participants will be supported to develop high level leadership skills, including strategic leadership, critical reflection, project management in integrated services and leading in a complex corporate and political environment.

Successful participants also complete a University masters module, ‘Developing Effective Leadership’, which they can then use to go onto further postgraduate study and qualifications.

Chris Blamires, programme leader, explained that ‘We won the bid as a result of a competitive tender with 79 other organisations. We believe that we were successful due to staff expertise in the running of Children’s Services, our reputation in offering an extremely successful MA programme (which includes leadership in public services), and our consultancy and coaching experience in other leadership programmes.’

As he says, ‘All the team share a belief in a student-centred approach to learning and development using an inductive learning approach where experience is underpinned by theory. We recognise that our learners are all skilful practising professionals. Learning experiences are reviewed for successful practices and areas for development and learners are stretched and supported in their development.'

Chris, a Senior Lecturer at the University, has recently been involved in a leadership programme for Calderdale Council Children’s services. His research interest is coaching and mentor development, team working, leadership and organisational change and has over twenty-five years experience in learning and development, including winning a National Training Award for excellence in customer service. He has also worked on the MA with staff from many organisations, including Kirklees Council, Calderdale Council, Hull, Dearne Valley and Tameside Colleges, West Yorkshire Police and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

Ceri Daniels, a tutor for this programme was previously a senior manager in Children's Services at several Councils and has managed parenting support programmes, children's rights teams, family learning services, supported housing for young people, Children's Fund projects and worked with Sure Start programmes when they were first introduced. She is currently studying for a PhD focusing on leadership in Children's Services. Ceri is joint Course Leader on the Leadership in Education and Public Service MA and senior lecturer on the Childhood Studies BA course.

The other two members of the delivery team, Wayne Bailey and Frances Marsden, have extensive experience of teaching leadership and management at the University on a range of programmes.

Frances teaches on various courses which include a management and leadership aspect and was West Yorkshire Lifelong Learning tutor of the year in 2009. Her prior experience includes the post of Head of Vocational Business Education at Huddersfield New College. Her current teaching includes team working and managing human resources. She is also course leader for the Educational Management and Administration FdA/BA at the University.

Wayne teaches coaching and mentoring on the MA programme at the University and has a wealth of experience in distance learning and the creative use of virtual learning environments to support student learning. He has co-written chapters on mentoring, the latest of which is included in an Open University set text.

The programme started in May 2011 and will end in 2014. The programme includes evaluation and feedback, deploying the National Training Awards Evaluation matrix, which enables clients to apply for National Training Awards.

Back to news index - All Stories