08 Jul

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GrahamI’d like to start my blog this week with a massive ‘Congratulations!!’ to all our young people who received awards at the New Bridge Year 11 and Year 14 Record of Achievement ceremonies. This time of year is always incredibly busy but also very rewarding. Almost every day we have the opportunity to share and celebrate the remarkable progress our young people have made.

On Wednesday I was invited down to London to participate in an ‘Educating Britain’ summit. I was delighted to not only represent our Group but also Oldham. Discussions were had with Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State, regarding the national variance in relation to standards. She reiterated the position that more work needs to be done across the country on what she described as ‘character education.’ The work we have been undertaking on our New Bridge Route Planner feeds directly into this agenda. She also restated the government’s determination to introduce a National Funding Formula which we will continue to monitor closely.

It was also interesting to hear Tim Coulson, Regional Schools’ Commissioner, outline the plans for Multi Academy Trusts (MATs). There are now 973 MATs across 8 regions and the majority of them work with 1-3 schools. He talked about ‘an expectation’ that by 2022:

  • every school will be a giver and receiver of support
  • more MATs will contribute to a peer to peer review process
  • MATs will continue to sponsor schools and work more closely together
  • governance of these MATs will be world class
  • the performance gap for children and young people will continue to narrow to be the smallest it has ever been

Neil Carberry, Director for Employment and Skills at the CBI, discussed at length the challenges relating to schools and employers working more closely together. I have invited him to Oldham to see some of the stunning work that happens across our Group at all our schools, the Learning Centre, Future Finders, New Bridge Horizons and of course Bridging the Gap.

The afternoon consisted of an emphasis on digital learning. I have hopefully made a new contact with another participant from Fujitsu who was particularly interested in our Digit4ll Pathway. Colleagues from across the UK also discussed the significant variance of approaches to educating children across Great Britain. It was fascinating to hear about the real differences in approach in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As our Group grows it is important that we not only keep an eye on the national agenda but also ensure we always reflect on how the myriad of changes affect Oldham families and children. At least we are one of the few organisations that are round the table ensuring that our children’s voices are heard.

Overall, it was a day well spent – even if I did end up missing the Wales game!

Have a great weekend,