Steve Baker, 2004 Science: Head of BESD school
I completed my PGCE during the summer of 2004; throughout the year I had been particularly interested in working with the most challenging and disadvantaged young people in my placement schools. The course was excellent and helped me to develop my pedagogy whilst the tutors encouraged my interest in the Special Needs sector. During the final term I spent an SEND placement working at an independent school for pupils with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties.
At the end of the year I successfully applied for a place working at a local mainstream school as a science teacher and lead teacher for SEND. This provided me with the opportunity to continue working with vulnerable pupils but I was keen to return to the specialist sector. The following year I moved to Kilgarth School, a maintained special school for pupils with BESD in Birkenhead. I was appointed as the lead science teacher and the following year I was promoted to head of Key Stage 4. During my third year at Kilgarth School I took on the role of Acting Deputy Headteacher for two years until I took on a permanent Deputy Headship at a Pupil Referral Unit in a neighbouring Local Authority.
In September 2011 I returned to Kilgarth School to take on the role of Headteacher. I have encouraged a non-confrontational approach to behaviour management and in the last few years we have won, and been shortlisted for, a range of local, national and international awards for our innovative approach. In 2012 I created a non-confrontational behaviour management training system with my Deputy Headteacher (which is linked to neuroscience) and we offer this to local schools and agencies free of charge in a drive to promote collaborative networks. To date we have trained around one thousand people including Merseyside Police Schools Officers who reported that it was the best training that they had received. I actively encourage my team to embrace research and we work with the Think Tank Learnus whose aim is to bridge the gap between neuroscience research and the classroom. Earlier this year we removed sanctions from school and have moved to a wholly rewards based system to encourage the development of prosocial skills in young people. We are currently working with the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, as we investigate the impact of our innovative approach.
In addition to my Headteacher role I have also worked as an Additional Inspector for CfBT for the last two years, undertaking Ofsted inspections in schools across the North of England. In my spare time I work with the national charity Teaching Leaders who aim to develop middle leaders in schools in challenging circumstances. At Teaching Leaders I am a lead facilitator, delivering leadership training to other schools; I also develop curriculum areas and quality assure the work of other facilitators. In 2015 I had the privilege to be invited to join the panel of judges for the Pearson Teaching Awards which has allowed me to identify and celebrate the work of outstanding teachers across the country.