Studying for an EdD

Sarah Mullin CTE MTLA FInstLM CMGr FCMI FRSA FCCT (@MrsSarahMullin) is the Deputy Head of Priory School and a mummy to three young children. She is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teachers, a Fellow of the RSA, a Chartered Teacher of English, a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Leadership and Management Institute – accolades all gained during periods of pregnancy, maternity leave and motherhood.

I absolutely love my job and have worked hard to achieve career success, becoming a Head of English at 26 and a member of SLT in my early 30s. As a school leader, I have always worked tirelessly to support staff with their own professional development and every spare minute I had was dedicated to driving school improvement to maximise pupil outcomes. When we had our first beautiful baby, I suddenly had the time to reflect on my own career path, thinking about the things that I wanted to achieve personally and professionally. It was difficult to switch off from work during maternity leave at first; I found myself logging in to check my emails daily so I decided to sign up for a part-time MA in Education, something I had wanted to do since completing my PGCE, but had put on hold due to my professional responsibilities.

I spent my second maternity leave finishing my MA and I also became a Chartered Teacher of English. It was whilst I was on maternity leave that an Assistant Head position became available and so I decided to go for it. I was absolutely delighted to be appointed, even though it meant going back to work earlier than expected and working full time. Being a mummy of two boys and an Assistant Head certainly kept me busy, but it was rewarding to see the positive impact I was able to have as a senior leader. Being on maternity leave allowed me to realise the importance of taking control of my own CPD by finding opportunities to grow as a leader and so I continued with my studies when I returned to work, beginning my Doctor of Education degree.

My hard work, growing role within the school and the evidence of whole school improvement meant that I was promoted to the role of Deputy Head in during my current maternity leave I have continued with my EdD, written a book, and have been featured as an ‘Inspirational Woman’ by We Are The City. I have also been shortlisted as a finalist in the categories of ‘Head teacher of the Year 2019’ and ‘Teacher of the Year 2019’ by the West Midlands Education Awards. I have also been shortlisted as a ‘Positive Role Model’ by the National Diversity Awards!

Maternity leave is such special time and it has taught me the importance of self-care and self-development: ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup – take care of yourself first.’