National Careers Week celebrates the diverse paths individuals take in their professional journeys. Today, we’re delighted to share insights from Emma Ford, a seasoned educator, headteacher, and dedicated trainer for Affinity Academy.


With a wealth of experience and a passion for making a positive impact, Emma’s journey serves as an inspiration for those considering a career in teaching. 

Meeting the Challenges of a Changing Landscape



In addressing how courses at Affinity Academy prepare teachers for current issues in education, Emma highlights, “In a post-COVID world and the landscape has changed… candidates going into schools that they don’t know are faced with quite a lot of complexity.”


The courses, she explains, are tailored to address key aspects like SEND behaviour, providing practical solutions rooted in her own experiences as a head. Emma believes that the goal is for teachers to walk into a school with a clear understanding of the present challenges.

A Lifelong Vocation: The Birth of a Teacher



Emma vividly recalls her childhood desire to be at the front of the classroom, stating, “I have a very vivid memory from primary school of wanting to be the teacher at the front.” Her journey into teaching was further solidified while working as a nanny in America, where she volunteered in schools, strengthening her calling to educate.




Leadership Lessons



Reflecting on her time as a headteacher, Emma shares the challenges of juggling responsibilities, especially with a young family. She emphasises the immense pride in transforming a special measures school, stating, “Realising that as a team we’ve done this amazing thing and made the school better for the children.”

Essential Advice for Aspiring Educators



In advising new teachers, Emma highlights the vocation nature of the profession, saying, “It really is a vocation. It’s not a job you can’t emotionally invest in.” She encourages a mindset of continuous learning, asserting, “Every day is a school day.”


Additionally, she stresses the importance of self-care and protecting downtime, Emma adds “Keep your hobbies even though you sometimes think at the beginning like oh gosh, where am I going to fit in?”




Crucial Skills for Teachers



Emma draws from her experience, emphasising the importance of a strong work ethic, resilience, and advocacy for every child’s success. She says, “You have to be the advocate for the child… wanting the best for the children, whatever their starting points, whatever their background.”

Transformative Impact on Students



Emma’s commitment to education goes beyond the traditional role of a teacher or headteacher. In recounting stories of students who have not only overcome obstacles but are now flourishing in mainstream classrooms, Emma sheds light on the profound impact educators can have on shaping a child’s future.


When Emma mentions, “I’ve got children in my head that are now successfully thriving in a mainstream classroom who were once in SEND schools” it unveils the depth of her connection with the students she has guided and supported. These are not just success stories; they represent the achievement of tailored support, compassionate teaching, and a genuine belief in each child’s potential.

The Joy of Mentorship



Emma Ford’s journey in education is marked not only by her role as a teacher and headteacher but also by her experiences as both a mentee and mentor. In reflecting on the profound influence of mentorship on her career, Emma highlights a key aspect that has shaped her approach to mentoring – the art of listening.


Acknowledging her own mentor from her previous headship who was an inspirational leader in his own right, and how his invaluable quality of attentive listening, Emma explains, “His ability to listen. Listen to what you’re telling him and then help you shape and move things forward, it really shaped how I mentor and support people.” This simple yet powerful attribute highlights the essence of effective mentorship. In a world where guidance is often associated with providing answers, Emma’s emphasis on listening underscores the importance of understanding and empathising with the unique challenges and aspirations of those seeking guidance.


Mentorship, as Emma experienced, goes beyond the mere imparting of knowledge; it involves creating a space for open conversation, where the mentor genuinely hears the concerns, dreams, and questions of the mentee. This compassionate approach promotes a sense of trust and mutual respect, laying the foundation for a mentoring relationship that is not only educational but also emotionally supportive. 

Continued Passion for Education



Emma finds joy in her work with Affinity Academy, where she not only develops practitioners but also guides consultants. She expresses the privilege of providing bespoke training, saying, “Designing training that is completely bespoke… for their candidates and ultimately for the schools in that area… is the best job in the world.”


Emma’s work with Affinity Academy and EVF Education further extends her passion for education. EVF Education offers bespoke development services, tailored to meet the unique needs of organisations. They provide ongoing support and coaching to address a variety of educational improvement needs. Emma’s dedication continues to shape the educational landscape, inspiring positive transformations in both individuals and organisations.


Emma Ford’s journey, illuminated through her own words, is a testament to the transformative power of dedicated educators. As we celebrate National Careers Week, her story encourages aspiring teachers to embrace the vocation, continually learn, and find joy in positively impacting the lives of students. Teaching isn’t just a profession—it’s a lifelong journey of passion and purpose.