25 Apr

Graham

Hi all,

I hope everyone managed to have a break over the Easter holiday?  It was lovely to see some sunshine.

This week we’ve seen all our organisations get back into full swing.  I and members of the central teams have spent time with each of them, individually, further planning for the road out of lockdown.

Rita and the operations team developed a really useful proforma that clearly itemised the dates when the government is expecting to ease different and various restrictions.  The next dates we are all working towards are May 17th and June 21st.  The Government is still suggesting that the date of June 21st is when we can all get back to “normality”.

It’s really important that all our organisations plan accordingly.  All of them are exploring different areas including transition arrangements, reintroducing community learning (including swimming for some), open days and events, enterprise weeks, work placements, celebration events etc. etc.

In our catch ups, every leadership team noted that there was an essential need to ensure that they didn’t expose their organisations to a further outbreak of Covid.  Most, if not all, will continue with the highly effective “bubble” model for the rest of this academic year.  It has proved really successful in reducing disruption.  It’s kept more children and young people in our schools.  It’s allowed John and the team at Horizons to stay open.  We all agreed it was the safest and most secure course of action.

Let’s hope the end is in sight?

This week it’s been wonderful for me to get back into a couple of our schools.  I had a lovely day in Hollinwood Academy.  It’s a while since I spent time there.  You may remember I was based there for the first 18 months as it opened.  It was wonderful to catch up with the children, young people and staff.  For note, we’re aware that the front of building is an absolute disgrace.  I can assure everyone that it is being totally renovated over the summer.  It’s not appropriate that our communities have to see a new building in an obvious state of disrepair.  It has been dealt with.

Every Friday, over the last few months, I’ve also been able to spend time at New Bridge Learning Centre.  I feel like I’m being transported back in time as one of my headship roles around 20 years ago was in the same room (when it was Park Dean School).  An awful lot has changed but a couple of things remains the same!  First of all is the commitment of the staff team and secondly is the enthusiasm of the young people.  How time flies!

From Monday I’m being based back at Spring Brook Upper!

On that note, I’d like to take a moment to thank my colleagues on the central and executive teams.  Over the last couple of years they have willingly given up their rooms, in all our organisations, so that we can make more space for the young people.

Over the same period we have seen unprecedented growth in every one of our organisations.  I’ve discussed some of these challenges in previous blogs.

I know I’ve been able to rely on the teams mentioned above to always put the young people first.  They’ve moved filing cabinets and computer points on a regular basis!!  They work from spaces as they become available – often without due recognition.  Well thank you all, I’ve noted it – it’s hugely appreciated.

Next week looks equally busy – I’m finishing off an article about our schools for an educational magazine, we’ve directors at Horizons, we’re continuing to explore our staffing solution for September and scrutinising the numbers of young people wanting places.  I’ve also got to catch up on some appraisal meetings.  I’m looking forward to it.

Take care all,

Graham

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