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08 January 2024

Kamal Bodhanker appointed to lead flagship School Trust CEO programme

Kamal Bodhanker has been appointed as the new Head of System Leadership faculty at the National Institute of Teaching.
Kamal Bodhanker, Head of System Leadership Faculty

Kamal Bodhanker has been appointed as the new Head of System Leadership faculty at the National Institute of Teaching.

Kamal joins the NIoT with a wealth of expertise in the education sector. Her previous role was with special educational needs charity Nasen as the Head of International Development, where she worked closely with governments, funders and schools to build inclusive education systems.

Kamal will be stepping into a new role at the NIoT, leading the System Leadership faculty which launches its flagship School Trust CEO programme in February 2024.

The year-long programme, supported by funding from the Department for Education, (DfE) will equip new or aspiring trust CEOs with the skills, knowledge and behaviours to build and shape the schools of the future.

'Strong, capable trust leaders are critical to the success of the education sector'

The programme’s underpinning content framework was developed by an Expert Advisory Group and was published by the DfE in 2023. Its creation was prompted by the Schools White Paper ‘Opportunity for All’, which recognised that strong, capable trust leaders are critical to the success of the education sector.

Kamal can’t wait to get stuck in: “I’m really looking forward to sharing the learnings of system leaders and architects from the sector. The programme design simultaneously offers the opportunity to research the intricacies of system leadership with the support of our in-house research team, whilst working with a ground-breaking cohort who will be able to shape the system as it evolves.”

Melanie Renowden, CEO of the NIoT said: “I’m delighted that Kamal has joined the team, and I have no doubt that the experience that she brings of working with system leaders to influence and shape education policy will be integral to the success of the System Leadership Faculty. Along with this, she has a deep understanding of education on the frontline as a former teacher and school leader who has worked across all school phases, from early years all the way up to teaching at Masters level, bringing her in perfect alignment with the NIoT’s commitment to being truly ‘school-led’.”

Starting out as a secondary English teacher, Kamal has remained dedicated to education throughout her varied career both in the UK and overseas. She fondly recalls teaching Gothic Literature: “One of my favourite memories is of teaching my Year 8s on a dark, rainy October morning and feeling lots of young people get that love for words and literature.”

'...the opportunity to change lives through teaching.'

When asked what inspires her to continue working in the education sector, ultimately Kamal says it comes down to the opportunity to change lives through teaching. She shares a powerful story about one of her former students:

“I remember working in the library whilst studying for my Masters after a number of years of teaching. I was quietly sitting in my own thoughts when a young lady approached me, who I taught as an 11-year-old. ’Is that you, Miss?’ she said. ‘I've wanted to contact you so many times since you left. You set us that homework about writing to 10 Downing St for work experience. Well, guess what: I did it and I got it!’

“She went on to explain she had been writing letters for work experience and internships to the most ambitious places, and she’d got them all – and was now very successful.

“The idea that a single piece of homework could lead to a life changing opportunity – that is the dream as a teacher, that’s the reason you get into the job, for those moments where you actively help children to reach their dreams.”

In her professional life, Kamal is a keen advocate for women in leadership, flexible working and wellbeing. Outside of work, Kamal enjoys time with her family and wears her parenting badge with honour, citing her two daughters ‘the centre of her universe’. She also loves reading, cooking, travelling and swimming – all of which she vows to do more of in 2024.

Find out more about the School Trust CEO programme.

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