APTIS Autumn conference 2019

APTIS Autumn Conference, November 15th 2019.

The venue for the 2019 Autumn Conference was Hill of The O’Neill and Ranfurly House Arts & Visitor Centre. An inspiring and uplifting day in a fantastic venue, opened by the brilliant choir from Windmill IPS, followed by the APTIS AGM and three great speakers/presentations. 

Autumn Conference Speakers

John Foster has been involved in the field of counselling consultancy since 1988. He is an Inspire Knowledge & Leadership Consultant, facilitating training in Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Resilience, Stress Management, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Mental Health Awareness. As an accredited counsellor trainer, John has facilitated a range of counselling programmes from postgraduate university modules to community based projects.

John’s inspiring talk was based around “Visionary Leadership” and how our principals can be visionary leaders in their school. He talked about (and our attendees not only listened but worked also on this) the different leadership models and how you can incorporate this into your school. “Visionary Leadership” as a process was next (Vision (idea) – Communication (word) – Empowerment (action)). We even finished with a song, with the video evidence available from NICIE.

Dr Malachi O’Doherty. Channel56 offers a range of media and communications services specialising in bespoke media training.  Their media training programmes give people the confidence to handle interviews positively, structure key messages and develop a powerful communications strategy. Dr Malachi O’Dohery is one of the most distinctive voices in Northern Ireland.  He is a regular commentator on policital and social affairs through his columns and features in newspapers, radio and television.

Between the stories and laughter, Dr O’Doherty did have some serious points as well, and some worth remembering for all who were there. When interacting with the media, be aware of the hazards, be aware of a potential hidden agenda, but use it as an opportunity too. Always be prepared, think like a journalist and know the wider context of the story/issue. And don’t be afraid to say no to an interview.

Joanne Kane is the founder and Human Resources Director of Headstogether, a specialist human resources consulting firm with offices in Belfast and London. The firm provides both retained and project services to clients in the private, public and not for profit sectors, helping them to effectively plan, organise and manage their staff. Prior to founding Headstogether, Joanne held senior HR roles with Marks & Spencer, Coca Cola, Linklaters and Diageo. She is currently responsible for leading a team of experienced consultants at Headstogether, and her personal specialisms are in strategy and organisational change, mediation and in dealing with disciplinary and grievance matters at senior management and board levels. 

Joanne outlined the key areas of the company:

  • Strategy and change
  • Employee relations
  • Employment law and policies
  • Performance and reward
  • Recruitment and selection

In regards to schools, Joanne went into detail on how Headstogether can help with (and gave details on the steps you can take) on managing teacher under performance (where an informal approach is still the best start for most issues); Sickness management and Occupational Health reports; flexible working requests (anyone with 26 weeks’ service can request flexible working now, and you don’t have to agree but you do have to consider them fully).