Meet Alice Brent-Smith, Partner and Consultant in Saxton Bampfylde’s Schools Practice
What is your past, present and future with Saxton Bampfylde?
After some time working at Majestic Wine I joined Saxton Bampfylde in 2012 as a researcher and worked on a range of appointments across the public and private sectors. I most enjoyed the searches within the education sector; every school is different and it is an interesting challenge to seek out candidates who would work (and importantly thrive) in a particular setting. More than any other sector it is so important that the cultural fit between school and candidate is right. I moved into the consulting team four years ago and work closely with the team on Head, Bursar and Governor roles as well as wider charity roles where children are a focus.
What are your rainy day dreams?
The Wildlife Photography of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London is one of the highlights of my year. I can spend hours looking at the photos and reading about the lengths people go to get the perfect shot.
What is your true passion?
My friends and family are extremely important to me. It’s vital to keep those relationships strong.
What is your hot tip?
I’ve just finished reading Normal People by Sally Rooney which I would recommend. It’s a simple story but with complex, endearing characters.
Who – dead or alive – do you view as a particularly inspiring leader, and why?
Having read Classical Studies at Edinburgh it has to be Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. He laid the foundations of one of the most successful empires in the world and brought about stability and peace (mostly!) to the Romans. The Ara Pacis Augustae, commissioned by the Senate to honour him is one of my favourite buildings in Rome and well worth a visit.
What impact is technology having on the way head teachers interact with their pupils, staff and parents?
As long as it is integrated in the correct manner, I think that technology can have a hugely positive impact. There have been some really innovative projects within the classroom in recent years which have helped staff and pupils really excel. It is important though that heads are clear with parents about the reasoning behind key decisions regarding the use of tech and the rules that apply both at home and at schools (surrounding the use of iPads for example). Communication is vital!
And finally – do you believe that knowledge of technology will become an even more fundamental skill requirement for education leaders in the future?
Absolutely. Leaders will need to be open minded to the evolution of technology and the potential uses of these advancements within schools. Key appointments like the Head of IT or the Bursar/Director of Operations will also be important.