IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Andy Kemp

Andy studied the Educational Leadership (International) MBA at IOE, graduating in 2017 and is currently the Principal of The National Mathematics and Science College in the West Midlands.

Photo of Andy Kemp, MBA Graduate 2017. Andy Kemp.
Andy, tell us what attracted you to IOE and your course?

I was looking for a way to better develop my understanding of the non-teaching aspects of running a school, as well as something that would carry credibility when I was applying for leadership roles.

How did you find your time studying at IOE?

The MBA programme was brilliant as it brought together such a diverse range of educators from different sectors, roles, and countries. Which meant I was able to develop a much richer understanding of the educational possibilities.

Tell us about your current role, what is the core purpose and typical activities?

My role as Principal of a small specialist STEM boarding and day sixth form college is all encompassing. I am involved in every aspect of college life from directly with the students, to marketing, finance, staffing, HR, contract negotiations and governance.

How did you get to where you are now in your career?

My career has nearly all been in education, but a fairly eclectic range of schools which has given me an incredible range of experience. I started out teaching in adult education and FE doing IT and accountancy before retaining as a secondary mathematics teacher. From there I’ve held roles as clubs and societies co-ordinator, head of mathematics, timetabler, director of digital strategy, director of studies, senior deputy head, head of senior school and now principal.

What advice would you give to a student looking to get into a career in your sector?

The journey to headship is often a little haphazard. You go into teaching, as you love teaching, and gradually you take on more and different responsibilities until eventually you mostly stop doing the thing you went into it for! The other problem is teacher training, does exactly what it says on the tin, but it doesn’t prepare you for school leadership...so look out for opportunities to develop that side of your skillset, like an MBA!

How do you approach professional development and/or networking? Has your approach changed at all over the course of your career?

So much of your career is down to chance meetings, and random opportunities. For this reason, networking is so important. But more than that I’d encourage you to be useful to other people, you never know when they will come back to repay the favour or where that might lead.

Last updated 23 August 2022.