Reflections on my first month at Public First

Reflecting on my first month at Public First, my first thought is that it has absolutely flown by in a whirlwind of zooms, and I won’t lie, has been a welcome change from my lockdown mat leave. But my second thought is with old colleagues, still teaching, doing everything they can to keep schools open, to keep children learning and to keep everyone safe.

I’m a teacher too, by nature and nurture, my husband jokes I run our house like a school. The daughter of two teachers, I cut my teeth in north London under a head who took a chance on me after my first year of Teach First and gave me a leadership position. I then went on to set up a free school in east London, which not dissimilar to Public First was an exciting innovating start up where everybody chipped in and everybody wanted to make a difference. Ready to make a bigger impact, I joined United Learning leading strategic projects across the group and learning so much about what makes a successful school and a successful school system.

So what next? Well, what I’m hoping to bring to Public First from my decade in and around schools is some pragmatism along with the ideas and thinking that I’ve picked up along the way. So far this month I’ve been undertaking a strategic review of a MAT and a local authority, supported a university think about expanding their provision and worked with an educational trade body campaigning for policy change. Lots to get stuck into.

In the post-COVID world, whenever that comes, there will open up a real space for those who have led schools through these extraordinary times to inform and steer the coming policy conversations and I want Public First to be supporting the sector to do this.

As I learn more about Public First and meet my new colleagues, I can see that it really is a unique organisation. I’m lucky to have joined such a remarkable team with such a wealth and depth of education expertise. Unlike other similar firms everyone has a real grasp of how to untie knotty policy problems. I’m excited for what comes next.