22 Sep

It’s been a strange old week. I’m never ill (touch wood) but this week I appear to have come down with a cold. This has caused much hilarity in the central office and all I’ve heard is ‘man flu’, ‘no sympathy’, ‘get some work done’ – it’s just like being at home!!

Earlier in the week I went over to Hawthorns School in Ashton. They are looking to join our Trust in the next couple of months and they will be a wonderful asset. We know the school well as we have had a number of their children join us over the years. They have a brilliant reputation in relation to their approach to teaching and learning, and their staff share our enthusiasm for transforming and modernising schools. Outstanding schools that get better has to be the way forward.

I have also been involved in planning for a meeting with the Department for Education. We are discussing a number of issues including:

  • an update on national funding strategies
  • special free schools – understanding the commissioning arrangements
  • proposed timelines relating to the Rochford Review
  • an update on EHCPs
  • an update on Special Provision Fund (DfE allocation £215m) – best practice

At times the travelling to and from London can be a real pain with early morning starts and late night finishes. However, it does ensure that our schools are appraised of the very latest developments from government and allows us to influence some of the key issues of the day. It’s also interesting to collate the views from other school leaders across the country.

On to our own schools and provisions. We had a meeting on Tuesday to explore how we are going to respond to the growing number of young people we are supporting in our post 19 provisions. Both Horizons and Future Finders have expanded significantly over the last couple of years. The main challenge we face is that we now have a group of young people reaching their 25th birthdays. We were always hopeful that other provisions would pop up to support these groups as they move through young adulthood. Sadly Oldham hasn’t really seen any new organisations moving into the town so we are exploring what options are open to us. I am torn between ensuring that we keep a focus on children, young people and young adults and supporting families who are becoming increasingly anxious at the limited provision for young people after they leave New Bridge Horizons at 25. We need to open up a wider consultation. I’ll contact you with some dates.

Have a great weekend,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here