Posted on: Friday 12 March 2021
Did you know that nearly three quarters of people who work for Torfaen Council are female? To mark International Women's Day this week we've spoken to one of the many women who hold leadership positions with us to find out who -- and what -- inspires them.
Jaci Bates is the headteacher of Woodlands Community Primary School, in Thornhill, Cwmbran.
Q What was your favourite subject at school and why?
I loved story writing in primary school and biology in secondary. I enjoyed those subjects because the teachers were enthusiastic about them and sparked my interest.
Q How old were you when you got your first job and what was it?
I got my first job when I was 13 as a shop assistant. I remember the boss shouting at me that I had a head like a bucket, meaning I was scatty and forgetful, which was true!
Q Why did you want to become a teacher?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher. As a child I always used to line my toys up, take the register and pretend to teach them sums. When I finished my A levels I wasn’t sure what to do. My dad suggested teaching and as soon as I started the course I loved it.
Q What made you decide to be a headteacher?
I had just started my first deputy headship in a London school. Shortly afterwards the school failed an OFSTED inspection, one of the first in the country. I was appointed as Acting Head and, although it turned out to be a huge learning curve, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Q What is the best thing about your job?
The people. I love working with my staff team in order to get the best for the children.
Q What has been your proudest career moment?
Witnessing children achieving the unexpected. We have had a few pupils over the years who have achieved beyond expectations and it’s so satisfying to be part of a team that has helped them to achieve that.
Q As a female leader what has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Having a young baby whilst managing my first headship. I just had to get on with it whilst feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing the best at either.
Q Name 3 women who have inspired you.
My mother, my best friend and my Y6 primary school teacher – all confident, hardworking, determined people.
Q What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Don’t worry about the things you can’t change.
Q Why is International Women’s Day important?
Anything that promotes equality for women around the world has got to be a positive thing.