24 Jan


Another week passes.

So what have we been up to?

Last weekend we were sent advice regarding changes to the Lateral Flow tests (for staff). A number of the school teams have been working on revising our models of testing – more news to follow.

On Tuesday I sat in on a training session that Phil Arnold had organised. It was led by a colleague from Cornwall, Rob Gasson. I’ve worked alongside Rob for a couple of years and he is an inspirational Leader. I was absolutely fascinated with his account of the work he is leading down on the west coast. His schools and alternative providers offer support to children, young people and families who have struggled with mainstream education. We can certainly identify with these young people, as we are seeing very similar issues in the North West.

Interestingly I think some of these children have been the ones that have been really disadvantaged through the previous and present lockdown. They can’t access our community partners as a result of the pandemic.

Many of these young people, if not all, have rejected a mainstream offer. The majority have had horrible experiences of school. That’s not meant as a criticism of the schools but it is meant as a swipe at the “system”. The system that doesn’t seem to be able to accept that a small number of children may want to learn (and be taught) differently.

A personalised offer.

There is no greater satisfaction for our staff than to re-engage with these youngsters. To get them to trust us. To ensure we build relationships with them. To value them. And we’re good at it!

We’ve our pathways in sports, the arts, horticulture and IT. We’ve our Bridging the Gap programme at the hospitals and Universities. We’ve our supported internships with our local employers and we’ve our super links with Guinness and First Choice Homes. The list continues to grow.

I was fascinated to hear from a number of LAs that, throughout the past year, the numbers of children in secondary schools being excluded has dropped dramatically. A more blended approach to schooling, a strong virtual offer, smaller and more consistent bubbles all have contributed to young people feeling more secure and less nervous. Continual assessment for some. It’s not rocket science. Valuing what children can do rather than ……. (you fill in the gaps)!

As I’ve said before we’ve got to learn lessons from the pandemic. We’re determined to!

Stay safe all,


You can find all Graham’s previous updates and blog entries here