Have you ever wondered what a headteacher’s day looks like? Having become a headteacher at Greenfield E-ACT Primary Academy in Bristol, Lakmini Harkus fulfilled an ambition she had held since the age of four.
We caught up with Lakmini to find out what a day in her life looks like since she became headteacher in September 2020.
My alarm goes off …
At 5.00am and once I’m ready for work, I leave my house at 5.45am and get to the academy for 6.30am. I get up early each morning so I can see my children before work. I also call my mother every day on the way to work to check how she is. My mother is one of the reasons I became a headteacher and I owe everything to her.
At work I’m responsible for …
Safeguarding is our number one priority. We have a welfare checklist which is at the top of my list, as I check it throughout the day as it monitors the attendance of pupils.
Secondly, I focus on the development of teaching and learning across the academy. This involves making sure staff are ok and logging any absences. I also quality assure lessons, so I will drop in on certain lessons to make sure everything is as it should be.
Communication is also a big part of my role, as I spend a lot of time communicating with parents and stakeholders.
I make it a priority to ensure I’m spending some of my time in the classroom teaching. Before lockdown, I taught Year 6 for three hours a week, preparing pupils for the move to secondary level.
I first got into teaching …
I decided at the age of four that I was going to be headteacher and even wrote it down in my baby album! When I walked into my primary school for the first time and saw welcome balloons, it really made me feel so at home. At university I completed a Biology degree and then pursued my PGCE at the University of Greenwich, where I also met my husband.
I wanted to make sure that I was a really good teacher first, so I developed my knowledge of teaching and learning. I became a head of science in a secondary school and then a lead practitioner at Greenfield E-ACT Academy in Bristol, having moved to Wiltshire with my family. Whilst on maternity leave, I was informed of a headteacher role becoming available at Greenfield E-ACT Academy and decided to go for the position.
Many women find it difficult returning to work after having been on maternity leave, but I hope I can show that I really do understand as I’m doing it myself. I feel very strongly about empowering women, especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
My typical day …
6.30am – I arrive at the academy, catch up on emails and work whilst it’s quiet
8.30am – staff briefing, with a focus on wellbeing
8.30am onwards – pupils start to arrive and I like to greet them at the gates
9.00am – 11.00am – I carry out attendance checks, say good morning to every class from the doorway and then lead meetings and carry out quality assurance by dropping into lessons
After lunch – I have more meetings, quality assurance checks and dedicate time for communications with parents
2.45pm – I am at the gate as pupils leave to go home 3.00pm – 5.30pm – staff meetings and more time to catch up with work
5.30pm – the building closes and I call my regional education director or another E-ACT headteacher on the way home
Best part of my job …
I love engaging with pupils and teaching them.
Most challenging part of my job …
Trying to spin all the plates as a headteacher.
After work I like to …
Read and play with my children at home. I put my phone in a different room so that I’m not distracted as time with my children is precious. Before lockdown, I also used to enjoy going to yoga classes.