Independent and free school headteachers trade places for the day

Highgate School and the London Academy of Excellence swapped heads earlier this month

It was all change at Highgate School and London Academy of Excellence in Tottenham (LAET) earlier this month, as their respective heads – Adam Pettitt and Jan Balon – swapped jobs for a day.

While Highgate already seconds teachers and administrators to LAET, and provides governance support, this was the first time such an exchange had taken place between the two heads.

Jan Balon, head of LAET since it opened in September 2017, said: “My day at Highgate began with staff briefing, where I spoke to all Highgate staff about the strong links between Highgate and LAET, and the support given by Highgate to young people in the east of Haringey. After this, I got to spend some time in lessons, and then met with a group of current Year 12 pupils.”

Jan Balon

Over at LAET, Adam Pettitt was having a similar day, meeting with staff and Year 13 pupils. He said: “It has been a real privilege looking into the work being done at LAET in every department, including pastoral, academic and financial matters. The Year 13 pupils have an incredible calmness about their exams and seem to be quite at one with themselves.

“It’s great to have this opportunity to immerse myself in a place I feel really passionate about. I have never been to an LAET staff briefing before and, in fact, I have never been at LAET without Jan being here! I am now very interested in launching the idea of exchanges for Year 12 and 13 pupils at Highgate and LAET.”

Both heads agreed that their job swap had been a great experience and well-timed, coming as it did as the first LAET cohort prepared to complete their A-levels.

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