This week I’ve been all over the place.
My week started with a meeting with the Regional Schools Commissioner’s office. Councillor Steve Williams and myself had a morning meeting with the team in Manchester to reflect on our journey, over the last few years, as a Multi Academy Trust, and to outline some of our plans. As always in these sorts of meetings, it allowed us time to reflect and consider our strengths and continued challenges. We were able to articulate the fact that our schools now support over 800 children (add the post 19 young people who are part of the NB Group, it rises to just short of 1000!), we employ around 650 staff, we have brought around £20million of buildings investment into our towns and we have made connections and have working relationships with some of the largest companies in both the UK and worldwide. When we were questioned about growth it came a quite a surprise to the RSC teams as to how popular and over-subscribed our schools continue to be!
On Tuesday we had our half termly meeting of the trustees. As always, I’d like to extend my personal thanks to them. They are a brilliant bunch of committed, local people who ensure both myself, and our team, continue to strive for excellence for Oldham and Tameside children and young people. We discussed our overall budget position, which in spite of a dreadful local and national settlement, continues to be reasonably healthy. We explored each school in detail and how each one was moving forwards. We studied some policy documentation to ensure it continues to be fit for purpose and wrapped up by dealing with any other business.
On Wednesday I was surprised to be joined by both Liz and Donna at a North West SEND forum, held in Wigan. I was nattering on about the national direction of travel. Donna’s input was a huge amount more impressive as she was brilliantly able to articulate the purpose behind her pdnet Regional Champion role. Information can be found here. Liz was also able to steal the show by communicating the training and development offer that our Trust is involved with. We’ve sessions, seminars and training planned with Apple, Ofsted, Cambridge University, Ace North, the Police – the list went on and on.
On Thursday I travelled down to London to chair a meeting with the Department for Education and the Department for Health. As our schools are admitting more and more children with complex health care needs, we have been asked to work alongside government departments to ensure school continues to be a safe place for these children. It’s a really crucial piece of work that will probably require changes to primary legislation. It’s the age old challenge of who provides the staffing and resources, health or education. The meeting went particularly well and I’m hoping to be able to keep you all up to speed in the next few months.
So that leads me on to today. I’ve spent most of the day catching up on e-mails and actually chatting with some children! I was able to have a quick look at our newest venture, the café/eatery at the Guinness Partnership, in Hollinwood. It’s going to be mega – grand opening in a couple of weeks – photos to follow. Think high class café and coffee shop in the middle of the Northern Quarter. Very shabby chic!
Next week is half term and holiday clubs. Please keep safe and I’ll blog again in a couple of weeks.
You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here