22 Apr

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Graham
Well, we might have had a relatively quiet week last week but this one has been hectic!

On Monday we held the recruitment for the head of site at Hollinwood Academy to fill the position Sarah will leave when she retires this summer. We had a number of very strong candidates and we were delighted to be able to offer the job to Jaina Mistry. Jaina comes with a wealth of experience and will be an excellent addition to our directorate team. I know she is determined to continue the excellent work started by Sarah and is very child centred and values the contribution that families can make to their children’s education. Welcome on board, Jaina!

I have also been involved in working with another school that is looking to join our Multi Academy Trust (MAT). As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the government is determined to convert all schools to Academy status by 2020. As our MAT is designed to be governed by local trustees and members, many schools are attracted to becoming part of it. We have always believed that a local solution involves a rigorous local accountability framework. The New Bridge Group’s Articles of Association state that this local identity is imperative to our continued growth and development. When I have more information about the new school I will share it with you.

On Tuesday I attended a meeting about our Teaching School, the new ‘Learning for All Alliance’. As you know, we are now a National Support School and National Teaching School. In a nutshell, this will give us more resources to support training and development, participate in action research, further develop our workforce and work collaboratively with other schools. Our action plan has not yet been delivered to the Department for Education – watch this space!

We have also spent this week planning next year’s curriculum, timetable, staffing and organisation. This a hugely complex job and really challenges our systems. Every part of our Group is expanding – Hollinwood Academy is gaining another 30 children (to take us to 100), New Bridge School and Learning Centre are also seeing a slight increase in numbers whilst demand for our post 19 developments is going through the roof. Our latest project, Future Finders, is trebling in size after just one year in operation and New Bridge Horizons will be supporting an additional 30 young people. I think we can safely say that our move to Medtia Square has been both successful and popular.

All of these developments are very positive and enable us to not only keep and develop our highly skilled workforce but also recruit more adults into the Group. I would much rather be in this position than the one that many schools are finding themselves in, with decreasing numbers on roll and having to make staff redundant.

It is always brilliant to take a look at our Facebook page. Last week I particularly loved seeing our Hollinwood Academy children on their first residential – they looked like they were having a great time. Our various intrepid Duke of Edinburgh’s groups have also been busy with their practice expeditions in Derbyshire, Macclesfield and Snowdonia; they are full of stories about tents, outside cooking, hiking and canoeing(!), although if I’m honest, I have to say that’s not really my thing…. Our Scouts have been on their travels too – last weekend saw them heading off to St. Annes for their annual jamboree filled with climbing walls, archery, outdoor activities and goodness knows what else!

All of these opportunities are available because our staff are prepared to work ‘over and above’. I would like to thank them all for their ongoing commitment to our children and young people, I know how much families appreciate their hard work from the really positive comments we receive.

Have a great weekend,

Graham