Happy New Year and welcome back to what promises to be another year full of innovation and excitement.
Some of the more eagle eyed amongst you may have realised that my blogs didn’t appear on Facebook or Twitter throughout December. I can assure you that I have continued to write a weekly record of my work (which you can catch up on here if you missed the posts) but for some unknown reasons we had a number of technical challenges that didn’t allow us to link everything together! Hopefully today’s blog will find its way into all our social media outlets.
Unfortunately I have to start the year off on a very sad note. Shaun Green, one of our premises team, sadly passed away over the Christmas vacation.
Shaun started with us in May 2018 as a caretaker at New Bridge School. He moved to Hollinwood Academy 12 months later. Shaun had a dry sense of humour and was extremely well liked and popular. His colleagues described him as having a very calm manner and someone who just got on with his work. He had a great love of sport, particularly cricket and the grand prix. Shaun was a family man. He and his wife Sue enjoyed holidays and went on several cruises. He was the father to two children. Our thoughts go out to all his friends and family at this very difficult time.
On to a more positive message. As some of you know our planning is well underway for the start of the next academic year. As I pointed out a few weeks ago, the work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure children and young people have places in our schools (and post 19 organisations) starts earlier and earlier each year. As a result of the popularity of our schools and the rights of parents to “name” us, there is now no such thing as our schools “being full”. So our school leaders have been heavily involved in looking at:
- Trends over time
- Predicting the financial envelope that pupil/student growth will afford us
- Structural analysis of each site and the buildings
- An evaluation of room allocation
- Exploring our staffing structure
- Studying our recruitment and retention strategy
- Examining the curriculum and schemes of work to ensure they are fit for purpose
- Scoping out pupil groupings and exploring possible organisational scenarios
- Ensuring that we have enough resources that are fit for purpose – tables, chairs, iPads etc. etc.
All of this occurs prior to the Easter vacation. In April we will have firmer numbers but, as you can imagine, if we need umpteen new classrooms we can’t leave that planning until the summer term. Some commentators suggested that our schools would see a reduction in numbers as more children were educated within a mainstream school context. I can categorically inform everyone that this could not be further from the truth. All our schools continue to be popular, and over-subscribed, because each one offers a bespoke and individualised aspirational curriculum that is tailored around the needs of each child and young person.
There are lots of other bits to mention but they are still embargoed!! To offer a slight clue, I may be in a position in the next few weeks to tell you about yet more National Awards, the outcome of the New Bridge Ofsted and the potential for some new “satellite” buildings. Watch this space.
Have a great weekend,
You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here