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CEO’s Blog – 24th March 2023

CEO's Blog - 24th March 2023 Our Organisation... The weeks are flying by and we're nearly at the end of the Spring term, so here's a snapshot of life at every one of our schools and settings. We're growing all the time, but our offer remains the best in special...

CEO’s Blog – 17th March 2023 – ‘Thank You!’

CEO's Blog - 17th March 2023  'Thank You!'   Well, if you've been following the updates on social media this week, you might just have noticed that almost 100 of our young people have been lucky enough to travel to Disneyland Paris. A trip that started on Monday...

CEO’s Blog (10th March 2023)

CEO's Blog (10th March 2023)   It was International Women's Day this week, and it was great to see our schools and settings marking the occasion with their activities and learning opportunities. Of course, we shouldn't only celebrate our women and girls for just...

We are looking for our next CEO…

We are looking for our next CEO... It's probably been the worst kept secret for a while, but I'm writing my blog this week to let everyone know that we are actively looking for the next CEO of the New Bridge Multi Academy Group and MAT. After many years working as...

CEO’s Blog – Student Voice (24th February 2023)

CEO's Blog - Student Voice (24th February 2023)   A few weeks ago, before the half term break, I said I would be reporting on how we listen to the Student Voice across our MAT and wider Group. Well, this week, I'm able to do just that, as some of our schools and...

Well, I can’t believe it’s Friday – what a week!!

Everything was set for a productive and relatively quiet week.  My diary was full of development meetings with staff and pulling together a number of evaluation documents.

On Monday, at precisely 12.00pm, we received a call at Hollinwood Academy from the central Ofsted team. It’s one of those moments that fills school leaders with dread. After a 15 minute conversation, the number of inspectors coming into school had doubled! The DfE had our number of pupils at just over 100!! So, then the fun started.

What followed was exhausting, intense, exhilarating but ultimately amazing.

Unfortunately I’m not in a position to give you all the details of the outcome of the inspection, as the final report needs to go through a period of scrutiny. I am, however, able to share with you that the governors, trustees and leadership team are very, very pleased with the outcome. I’m also delighted to be able to say that the inspectors were incredibly supportive and encouraging.

I’m obviously delighted (sorry, Lauren!) that everything went well but I am also encouraged by how well the Hollinwood team (especially Jaina, Laura and Natalie) rose to the challenge. All the team – the cleaners, the lunch time staff, the premises teams, the business and administrative support, the classroom staff – were phenomenal. For many of the staff it was their first experience of inspection – you were all amazing. I was so proud of you all.

One of the questions the inspection team asked our governors was related to the ethos of the school. Our trustees’ and governors’ reply epitomised our whole Group.

They talked about a can-do attitude, of having high expectations, of valuing the contribution of every individual and of always pushing the boundaries. We never settle for less and always look to improve.

This week, and throughout the inspection period, I have witnessed first hand our ethos in action. I saw young people from all our schools involved in D of E expeditions. I saw (on the website) one of our youngsters being presented his Gold Award by royalty. I laughed out loud as our Horizons groups soaked up the sun and sea in Benidorm (the laugh out loud moment was seeing John in his swimshorts!). I heard that one of our students has been offered a full-time job at the David Lloyd health club. The special element of this is he is only 17 and fast-tracked our work internship pathway. I held meetings in Tameside to start to explore joint working initiatives that can only be of benefit to everyone involved. All this in one week!!

The inspectors read out a couple of quotes from the Ofsted parents’ questionnaires. Can I thank you all for your amazing comments? To hear the difference we have made to your children (and yourselves) was truly humbling – and I’m rarely humble!!! I hope I can use some of your responses in our induction and ongoing training.

So, back to the Ofsted feedback on Thursday morning. I witnessed the team at Hollinwood applaud each other’s achievements – what a team – our ethos in action.

We’re all pretty exhausted now. Personally, I’d like to thank Jenny, Geoff, Moira, Liz, Dan, Annabelle, Louise, Sul, Rita, Wendy, Liz, Karen, Rebeckah and Anna – you all add such value to our schools.

What a team we’ve got – what a future we’ve got! In the words of Steve Jobs,

‘If you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.’

Have a great weekend – come on England!


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here


New Bridge Multi Academy Trust
Roman Road

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