About the author…

The Ambition Institute are a graduate school for teachers, school leaders and system leaders, serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their programmes support educators at every stage – from new teachers through to leaders of groups of schools.

Leading in the face of disadvantage – if not us, then who?

By Ambition Institute

  4 March, 2020

The Ambition Institute interviewed Tuesday Humby and published the article on their website in March.

Future Leader alumni Tuesday Humby has led a school from ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Outstanding’ over the course of two years, been nominated for the Global Teacher Prize, and was recently appointed the National Director of Teaching and Training for Ormiston Academies Trust. Now, she walks us through her approach to school improvement – from raising pupil aspirations to helping her team to keep getting better. 

It was in her years co-directing a student production group at Ripon and York University (now York St. Jon University), where Tuesday got her initial taste for leading and problem-solving.

There, her group performed theatre-in-education pieces to local schools, which included workshops for children between 14-16 on eating disorders. Quickly it became less about the performing and more about the teaching, and the potential to positively impact the lives of young people. 

She went on to teach at a diverse range of schools at dramatically different points of the sector, including an all-girls school in New Zealand, and a Church of the Bretheren school in Liverpool. 

Tuesday believes being brought up by a grandmother who taught her to “launch herself out of her comfort zone at any given opportunity”, braced her for the intensity of practicing as a teacher. This resilience proved useful as her career developed, and in 2014, she entered her first headship at Ormiston Chadwick Academy just outside of Liverpool at the age of 36.  

Early into her headship, Tuesday completed Ambition Institute’s Future Leaders programme. She fondly recalls an introductory lecture, and the profound impact it had on her practice:

“To say we were moved would be a massive understatement. I had no idea about the statistics around disadvantage before going into that room. I came away proud to call myself a Future Leader and I still am.”

Upon starting her headship at Ormiston Chadwick Academy, Tuesday began tackling persistent problems that will be recognisable to heads across the country, and quickly started to shape school development plans; her first totalling a generous 48 pages. 

Ormiston Chadwick Academy was founded after the predecessor school went into ‘Special Measures’. The depressed levels of literacy and numeracy meant an inaccessible curriculum, and frustrated staff and pupils. This was compounded by a lack of enrichment activities and ineffective CPD, leading to boredom amongst the pupils and teaching standards not being met.

Following on from her successful headship at Ormiston Chadwick Academy, Tuesday became the Regional Director for the North region for Ormiston Academies Trust and was later appointed as National Director for Teaching and Training in September 2019. As part of this role, Tuesday leads on ensuring effective Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is at the heart of OAT’s work to engage, develop and retain talented staff in the schools in each of our regions. As well as offering a national training package at all levels, including Initial Teacher Training and an early career package delivered through The OAKS SCITT and Ignite Teaching School Alliance.


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About the author…

The Ambition Institute are a graduate school for teachers, school leaders and system leaders, serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Their programmes support educators at every stage – from new teachers through to leaders of groups of schools.