09 Feb

Graham
It’s been an interesting and varied week. Our Trust leadership team met on Tuesday evening to communicate developments at each of our sites. I find the process both inspirational and rewarding. When I first started in school leadership I could place the whole leadership team in a Volkswagen Beetle – now we would need a double decker bus, such is the growth of our Trust.

We heard about curriculum developments in English and Maths that have enabled all our children to progress more rapidly and extend the curriculum offer considerably. We heard from our operational teams about how we are progressing with our business and finance models. I was delighted to be kept in the loop about our ‘Dashboard’ assessment system which is now operational across all our sites. Wendy and Liz gave us all an overview of our internal and external communication strategies. Karen updated us with regards to after school clubs and holiday clubs. John shared with us the news that the Directors of Horizons have extended the age range for those young people already with us to over the age of 25.

All the heads of schools gave glowing reports about each organisation – I really hope Ofsted come in soon so we can showcase our outstanding work. Kelly was busy trying to ensure all the medication procedures are secure as she is about to go on leave. Dan offered us an insight into our work internship programmes and our proposals for new developments in this area. Simon amazed us by communicating with us all – a bit of a standing joke! Rebeckah and Geoff were able to tell us all about the work going on within our pastoral departments and our changes in relation to supporting the mental health needs of our youngsters. Sul brought us up to speed with a really exciting project planned with Manchester University. All in all, an amazing insight into the work of a complex and ever improving organisation!

At the end of the week I spent a couple of days in London. On Thursday I gave a presentation about our assessment systems to over 200 colleagues from the South and South West. I shared the stage with Barry Carpenter and Diane Rochford. What became evident were the creative solutions that all schools are coming with to ensure we measure progress appropriately. Discussions predominantly centred upon what constitutes ‘progress’ for our youngsters.

I wrote last week that whatever assessment model schools adopt, the crucial issue is to ensure that any system improves outcomes. On Tuesday Liz told us all how proud she was of the young people sitting their ‘mock’ exams and Dan stated that over 100 young people, from every school in the Trust, are accessing work experience programmes. Real impact!

On Friday I accompanied Alison Tootill, our head designate for our new free school, to an event put on by the New Schools Network. The day gave us an insight as to what to expect as we move fully into the pre-opening stage. I know that both Alison and I are excited by the prospect of opening the school (next to Medtia in the centre of town) so that the young people can really start to benefit from the Trust’s offer. We both just wish we could have opened in September rather than April 2019.

As I’d stayed in London on Thursday night, I took the opportunity to take in a West End show – I do love a good show!! A quote from the show stayed with me as it relates so much to the young people and staff within our Trust:

Just be with dignity, celebrate yourself triumphantly.’

This term’s quiz question….which show does that come from? (no googling!!)

Have a great half term,

Graham

You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here