Holly Waddell

Holly Waddell

“I went to Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, and now I am a Leadership Development Officer.”

Holly, Leadership Development Officer

Years attended:


Job Title:

Leadership Development Officer

Description of Job:

I support teachers who are on a training programme placed in disadvantaged schools through mentoring and coaching them. This includes supporting new teachers who need to develop their skills or are struggling with other issues like their well-being or workload, as well as challenging others to push them to be the best possible teacher they can.

O Levels/GCSEs

A*s in English Literature, English Language, Maths, Double Science, History, French, Spanish, PE

A Levels

English Literature, (A*)

History, (A)

Biology  (A)

General Studies (A)

AS Levels English Language and Chemistry


Newcastle University

Course: English Literature

What inspired you at school?

AGGS prepared me to work hard in order to achieve what I wanted to, taught me to always strive to do the best I possibly can and to have really high expectations of myself and others.

Any useful tips/advice?

Take on as many of the opportunities that come your way as you possibly can – don’t be afraid to say yes and try new things to find what you enjoy and are interested in.

What have you done since leaving AGGS to get to where you are today? (eg work experience, GAP year, apprenticeship, volunteering, travelling)

University, and while at university volunteering in a variety of schools to gain experience in the Graduate scheme – Teach First Leadership Development Programme which enabled me to get my PGCE to qualify as a teacher, Masters in Education at University of Manchester.

What specific qualifications are needed for your job?

PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education)

Are there any particular subjects that have to be studied to be able to do your job?


What is a typical work day like for you?

Every day is very different! Most days will involve me travelling to at least two schools to meet with new teachers either individually or in groups- often I watch them teach a lesson and then meet afterwards to discuss what went well and how they can improve. Lots of time is also spent speaking to my caseload of teachers by email and phone and planning meetings, which allows me to spend a day a week working from home. Also, every Friday I meet with my colleagues in our office in central Manchester.

What is the best bit about your job and do you have a particular career highlight?

The best bit of my job is being able to see the difference I am having on pupils across the North West through the teachers I work with. I also really enjoy working with other people who are passionate about this like me – and I love the flexibility of where and when I work.

What are the worst things about your job?

I often have to work in the evenings (and as a teacher a lot of work is done at the weekends) which can be frustrating!

What skills help you most in your job (i.e. teamwork, communication, leadership, time management)?

Leadership and being able to use initiative. Being calm under pressure and resilient. Having high expectations. Professionalism- well organised and professional communication. Being able to think of creative solutions to problems and be flexible. Being able to work together with a wide range of people.

What advice would you give to students looking to get into your line of work? (e.g. subjects to study, getting work experience)

I think it is important to study subjects that you enjoy and are passionate about as this is essential to becoming a great teacher! It’s also really essential to get experience in a school – I would recommend trying to experience a range of school settings (primary schools and secondary schools; schools with different specialisms and intake of pupils).

How did your experience at AGGS help you to achieve your successes?

AGGS prepared me to work hard in order to achieve what I wanted to, taught me to always strive to do the best I possibly can and to have really high expectations of myself and others.