11 Nov

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks based at Hollinwood Academy. The growth of our Multi Academy Trust has been a brilliant learning curve for me as I have spent time with children and staff who are far from my previous experiences (most of my teaching career has been spent working with children and young people aged between 11 and 19). It’s important for us all to step outside our comfort zones – whenever I walk into our reception and Key Stage 1 classes I learn something new!

I have tried to offer Jaina and her team support in different ways. I think it is important to understand the needs of all our children and young people within the Group. Unfortunately there are no short cuts to remembering all the children’s names though, it’s just a matter of spending time with the young people in the classrooms, the dining room, the sports hall and my favourite (not!), our soft play centre. Luckily the children and young people at Hollinwood come to the rescue and correct me as, for the tenth time, I call Mia…..Olivia!!! Sorry, everyone.

I have been both astonished and delighted to see how hard the staff team work and how committed they all are – they rarely get a minute to sit down! They are often eating lunch, usually a sandwich, whilst preparing resources or getting the classrooms ready for the next exciting learning activity. They arrive early in the morning and leave late in the evening. They are always looking for different ways to approach learning activities to further engage your children.

In between walking the corridors I’ve been preparing for a number of regional and national events next week. On Tuesday we are holding an initial North West Teaching meeting. We, along with a number of other northern based teaching schools, are exploring models that will better position us to offer formalised school to school support and training and development courses. On Wednesday we are hosting a national training event for schools from across the country as part of the ‘Leading Outstanding Special Schools’ programme to support the next group of future leaders. A number of our senior colleagues are presenting on a range of topics including developing curriculum models, extending ambitions and creating successful teams. Both of these events should be great opportunities for colleagues from across the country to see, first hand, some of the work we are doing in Oldham. I love being able to promote what we do.

Have a great weekend,