We’re delighted to welcome Petrina North to Sycol.  Petrina brings with her a wealth of expertise and, having progressed through the Sycol programme to Black Belt, she certainly has lots of experience to share.  Before joining Sycol, Petrina was Executive Headteacher at the Parsons Down Federation.  If you’d like to chat to Petrina about her experiences please feel free to get in touch.


In my capacity as a head, what work have I done with Sycol?

“As an Executive headteacher of two schools I worked with the Sycol programme to bring the two school communities together after the Governors chose to form a hard federation.  As a school community involving Staff, Governors, Children and Parents we worked together to build, embed and sustain a culture of shared responsibility and aspiration.”


What do I most enjoy about working with schools and academies?

“I most enjoy watching individuals who have potential, motivation and desire have an impact across their whole school or academy…watching the penny drop as they realise that they have the tools and ability to make the changes that will enable their pupil to really excel and achieve.  The dedication of school staff goes beyond anything ‘lay people’ can understand. The desire to help and the belief that staff have in the children in their care is phenomenal.”


What one thing do I think schools can do to create a culture of high performance?

“The one thing…that’s tricky. I think the one thing is to absolutely commit to the ‘Shared Vision’.  I think that might be two…!”


Some people view working on culture as ‘fluffy luxury’. What is my view on this?

“Absolutely not. Creating the right culture in any organisation seals its fate.  Create the right one it will fly…the wrong one and no matter what you do it will never be the best it can be.”


What advice would I give to a school who likes the idea of the Sycol programme but is unsure about going ahead with the programme in case it’s ‘not right for their school’?

“My advice would be to talk it through with us and to ask as many questions as possible in order to discover the benefits that the programme will deliver for you.  If the school or academy is not functioning effectively the Sycol Programme will provide the opportunity to view the systems and procedures objectively and the vehicle to initiate the change. Having said that, many of our schools and academies are already outstanding and are looking to reach the next level with us.”


What did I learn from going through the process of becoming a school Black Belt?

“The single most significant thing that I learned was trust in the process.  The mindset, the procedures, the systems the communication, the discipline and belief all enable you to trust the process.”