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Well, what a week. I’m sitting at my desk at 4.45pm on a Friday still reeling from events.

To put the week in context, I have interviewed for a headteacher, attended a number of The Greatest Show performances, had a meeting with the Department for Education, delivered a keynote presentation in Torquay and, to top it all, had Ofsted in at Hawthorns School!

Let’s look at a couple of those in more detail.

Initially let me talk about the Hawthorns inspection. We have known for the last couple of years that Hawthorns is a wonderful school. The staff epitomise the values we hold dear within our trust. The children that attend receive an amazing offer. Their families really value the work that we do. Pierre and the team received a call from Ofsted on Wednesday and by Thursday evening they had gone! I’m certain Pierre will be sharing with you the grading as soon as he is able, but needless to say everyone was really pleased with the outcome. Can I thank all of the staff and governors for their amazing hard work and commitment and our central teams, who supported quietly in the background.

So, on to the show. “Ladies and gents this is the moment you’ve waited for” was the opening line of the first song and oh, have we waited.

What I saw performed (along with sell out audiences) were children and young people from every school dancing, acting, playing and singing with confidence and skill. Wherever I looked I saw smiling faces. The audience sang and clapped along and, at times, got totally caught up with the emotion in the performance. I don’t recall our schools doing anything on this scale in the past. The children and young people received a standing ovation at every performance. They absolutely deserved it. It was incredible. Last week I wrote in my blog about our core values. Each one was clearly evident in every bar of the music, in every line that was spoken and in every movement made. The value that stood out for me was inspiring. Every member of the audience went away from the performance inspired. Every member of staff went away inspired. Every child went away inspired. I loved it. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the staff and volunteers who made it possible.

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Please don’t forget it’s a Bank Holiday weekend. Have a great one,


You can find all Graham’s previous blog entries here


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