An interview with Deputy CEO & Deputy Principal, Tracey Mace-Akroyd

This week is National Careers Week and also International Women’s Day so we thought it fitting to interview Deputy CEO & Deputy Principal, Tracey Mace-Akroyd, about her career

Tracey Mace-Akroyd - Deputy CEO and Principal

Tracey, thank you for your time. So, first question, did you enjoy school?

I absolutely loved it! I had a great group of friends throughout school whom I remain good friends with now. But it was not just my friends and the learning side that I loved, I also got involved in a range of sports and competed at regional competitions.  

We all know how important learning is and especially Maths and English is, so how many GCSEs do you have and what did you get in Maths and English?

Well…I have 9 GCE O levels (shows my age) and I got B’s in Maths and English. You are right… they are so important.

Following school, what was your first job?

Well, I worked at Nat West Bank as a senior bullion cashier and financial adviser as well as looking after quality of customer service, marketing and promotion of products. It was a good all-round start to my career!

What made you then go into teaching?

After having my children, I returned to education as an adult learner to retrain in the land based sector. I have always been passionate about education and my tutor saw the potential in me and supported me to train as a teacher. From starting as a teacher, I then used my skills as an advanced practitioner to support staff to develop their TLA skills before entering the world of management.

Why did you then decide to become an Ofsted Inspector?

Having enjoyed successes for my own students and the colleges I worked for, I wanted to influence the quality of education at a national level.  I enjoyed the challenges of gathering evidence and making reliable judgements. I also realised that it is was a real privilege to be allowed to see how a provider operates and the many great ideas and success stories across the sector.

As the Deputy CEO and Deputy Principal of RNN Group, how do you balance leading a business with the business of education?

The Group needs a secure and sustainable future and to do this we need the right curriculum that meets individual stakeholder needs. Teaching and support needs to be excellent to achieve the best performance and skills outcomes.

As senior leaders, we have transformative power and all business decisions have to consider the best interests as well as reflect the needs of our students who are our customers. Their success is our success.

What has been the highlight of your career?

Difficult to say one … but seeing students overcome disadvantaged barriers and build the skills and confidence they need to lead successful lives is so rewarding and second one that I have to include is leading colleges to improve quality and performance from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ on four occasions with the most notable one being Ofsted’s inspection of RNN Group in November 2022 which recognised the dedication and hard work of all staff along with their relentless drive to improve the student experience and success despite the COVID challenges.

Finally, what advice would you give to any girl leaving school now?

Seize every opportunity, take on every challenge and set high expectations for yourself; broaden your mind and horizon and if you go through a door and it is not right there are always more to choose from. Finally. you need to be able to work with everyone in your career: communication and work skills such as confidence, resilience, problem solving are as important as a qualification to succeed in work and life.

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