08 Mar


This week I have spent time working alongside our colleagues in the Tameside Pupil Referral Service.

A few months ago our trust was approached to explore the value of joint working. As you know, I absolutely see the value of partnership working. Working together gives us the opportunity to be more creative and, often, allows us to source better solutions.

We are fortunate that between the organisations we have staff who want to be innovative and solution focused.

This week, young people who do not attend schools have been prominent in the news. The media have started to make links between knife crime and young people not attending schools. We know that the numbers of young people permanently excluded from schools is rising. We can make an assumption that too many of these children are “turned off” by what can only be described as an “academic driven” curriculum. Not every child shines in the traditional subjects.

Our trust is at the forefront of innovative curriculum design. We’ve been personalising our curriculum for over 10 years now. In brief, we have our curriculum pathways, our employment matrix, our Apple 1:1 project, our pre internship programmes, our nurture groups, our intervention teams and our specialised groupings, to name just a few. The children in all our schools benefit from this approach. We wrap an offer around the individual. Too many organisations do totally the opposite. Too many schools have a curriculum “on offer” and the young people have to try and take what they can from it!

Our teams in the Tameside PRU, alongside those at Spring Brook and Springboard, have been working to ensure that the young people are able to access provision including The Prince’s Trust, outdoor education, forest skills and Duke of Edinburgh’s etc. We will design a 21st century curriculum offer that is fit for purpose. We will be bold and innovative. We will design all of these offers alongside appropriate key skills work. Our teams are making sure our offer is meaningful and has currency in the real world.

I’d been asked a while ago to join a working party with colleagues from the Department for Work and Pensions. Government is exploring the issue of the transition from school to work and ensuring that work “always pays”! This is going to be a huge agenda! At our first meeting we explored the significant challenge of ensuring the workplace is more appropriate for our learners. As you can imagine, it’s going to be quite a slog! I feel it is a real positive that our children are at last being represented. I’ll keep you informed.

Have a great weekend,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here