Mo Laycock OBE

Mo began her teaching career teaching art in 1974 in a Bradford inner city school. She moved to Sheffield in 1976 and worked in three secondary schools in the city throughout her career. She became a deputy headteacher in 1986 and was acting headteacher of this school for two years, prior to moving to Firth Park Community Arts College in 1995 as headteacher. She took planned, early retirement in August 2010.

Firth Park was a school in ‘challenging circumstances’ and a ‘National Challenge school’. The school is situated in an area of considerable socio-economic deprivation with high unemployment and low aspirations. The community it serves is 96% council housing. In the fifteen years Mo was at Firth Park, the school enjoyed annual improvements from 10% 5+A*-C GCSEs in 1995 to 75% with 37% including English and Maths. Firth Park was a specialist performing arts school and the lead Extended School in Sheffield open 7.30am – 9pm daily, many weekends and all holidays, except Christmas, for students and community/adult learning. The school had the highest CVA in Sheffield for 3 years running 2007 – 2010. In 2010 this was 1,041.

Mo received an OBE in the 2011 New Year’s Honours List for ‘outstanding leadership and contributions to education in Sheffield and nationally’. She also received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University in the same year.

In 2011 Mo undertook Ofsted training and has used such training as a consultant in schools in Sheffield, Derbyshire, and London. In these schools she reviewed all faculties to Ofsted standards and completed full reports on all areas. The last 2 schools she worked with received ‘Outstanding’ in follow up Ofsted inspections.

Now a teaching leader coach for the NE UK, Mo supports 12 schools and 12 fellows on a half-termly basis using Ofsted criteria, receiving regular training from teaching leaders in Manchester who oversee the programme. Mo is a popular speaker at national conferences and writes regularly for the Optimus Secondary Headship journal.

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