Ross Ashcroft, Head of School, Mary Elliot School
Ross’ path to teaching was anything but traditional or straightforward. However, what it was has been is a testament to his character and a perfectly exemplifies his tenacity. More importantly, it readied him to be the inspirational leader he is today, and the excellent Head he’ll be tomorrow.
For most people a volatile home life only leads to endless trauma, and a loss of hope, but for Ross, who was also expelled from school, it left a teenager desperate to succeed. Harbouring a desire to be the teacher he never had, he set about mastering his own destiny. He was also inspired by, and drew strength from, his loving grandfather who sadly passed shortly after. Despite only being allowed to sit alone and without much supervision he passed his GCSEs, breezed through college, and soon graduated with a Sports and Education Studies degree. It seemed one of our exemplary leader’s troubles were behind him. Unfortunately, the cost of higher education soon took its toll leaving Ross homeless. Again, his determination and grace were on full display. Whilst living in a tent he was offered a job in SEN school, and eventually a temporary room.
A small act of kindness reinvigorated Ross to successfully complete his PGCE and the moulding of a future leader had begun in earnest. He worked as a teacher, learning coach, Head of Autism, and in April 2016 he became the Assistant Principal of Severndale Specialist Academy, the only such school in Shropshire County that caters for the educational needs of children with a complete range of needs from the ages of two to nineteen.
The last three years have seen Ross develop his innate leadership qualities, and use his experiences to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children. With so much experience and having helped transform this unique school, our inspiring leader is taking on whole new challenge: Head of School in a new environment. No wonder he chose NAHT. Ross wanted a union that provided ongoing protection, unique professional development opportunities, and stood up for school leaders across the country. NAHT offered this and so much more.
We’ll let Ross have the final say: “upon becoming Assistant Principal I needed a union that was dedicated to supporting and working with school leaders. NAHT immediately stood out because it would help as I transition to Headship. I was encouraged as a new professional, and I’m still championed as Head of School.”
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