Spotlight on Staff with Barbara Manning

07 December 2022 |

Our new blog series ‘Spotlight on Staff’ has been launched to showcase the great team we have here at Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust. 

We are keen to introduce you to the large team of fantastic staff we have across the Trust and to give you an insight into the work they do as we strive to serve our stakeholders and improve the life chances of the students in our schools.

Barbara Manning, Director of Social Justice joins us as the next guest for Spotlight on Staff

Can you give a brief overview of your role at the Trust and some information about your career so far?

I have been a teacher for over 30 years. I started my career in  Newham as an NQT and then Barking & Dagenham as a middle leader. I moved (back home) to Lancashire in 1997 and was a middle leader, Advanced Skills Teacher and then Assistant Head in a school near Blackpool before becoming Deputy Head at a large comprehensive school in Morecambe. From there I moved into Higher Education for over two years as a senior lecturer and programme leader at the University of Cumbria before joining the team at Tavistock in January 2016 as Vice Principal. I then began working across the Trust in May 2021 as safeguarding lead and my role has grown from there. I’m also lucky enough to be safeguarding lead, one day a week, for another Devon based Academy Trust .

What do you enjoy most about working for the Trust?

No two days are ever the same. The children are amazing and our adults are the best there are. We have great communities. I enjoy the constant challenges, the problem solving and the opportunity to work in an environment that is morally and ethically driven and that values people.

How would you describe your team/ people you work with?

Hard working, inspired, inspirational, aspirational, focused, driven, compassionate, strong, awe inspiring and awesome. Super stars.

What are the main challenges that you face within the sector?

A lifetime plus of failure by governments of all complexions to invest equitably in education, in young people and in palpable sustainability. There just isn’t enough funding or resourcing to go around, there never really has been, and what there is, is being squeezed to the pips on a daily basis. I have seen so many (eye wateringly expensive) DfE and government initiatives and strategies come and go that it’s dizzying. It saddens me hugely that a career path that is such a privilege haemorrhages great and talented people because of the huge pressures that enforced austerity and neglect has wrought.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

Wearing heels ruins your feet!