Working with you, working for you.

I recognise that this is a particularly difficult half term. I’ve discussed, in previous weeks, the dark nights, cold days and that long haul into the Christmas break. I just want to say thank you for maintaining your patience, persistence and good humour. It keeps us all going and it keeps the children and young people on the right track. That’s what we do and that’s why we can correctly say that we have some of the best teachers, staff, pupils, students and parents, in this area. The weekend is nearly here. I hope whatever you’ve got planned it’s enjoyable, restful and is a counterpoint to the challenges you face during your working week.

This period, this run into Christmas break, often has me thinking about who we are as people. Oakwood‘s OFSTED experience added to those reflections. We are judged by what we do, by our actions, rather than by our warm words. There’s nothing wrong with using words to explain and to illustrate but it’s our actions which mark us out and my professional colleagues working at Sitwell Junior School, Oakwood High School, Thomas Rotherham College or Inspire Trust evidence every day their commitment and compassion. As a group of schools and as a college we work hard to ensure that all of our children and young people are seen and are treated as highly valued individuals. In most cases and for most people that means working with them directly to ensure that they have the conditions, resources and environment to allow them to be the very best person they can be. I know that not everyone will respond to that approach but it is, I hope you’ll agree, the correct and proper way forward. We talk a lot about parity, equality and fairness. We talk about wanting to ensure that all of our children and young people understand that their work is highly valued and all should work within the context in which we operate and within the bounds which we set. We will not bend to the loud voice. We want to listen but, equally, we want our community, our parents and carers to work with us, not against us in our relentless pursuit of what is right. We aren’t going to allow the reactionary or angry to derail us, bully us or deflect us. We will not let that happen and so we talk to the individual and give them the information that they need to be able to take a good decision.

I thank all the teachers and professional support staff for helping share these messages and fighting hard for this community every time we discuss our work, our future and our relationships.

We, at Inspire, are trying to do the right thing this year, as we do every year – COVID or no COVID. This approach is a genuine attempt to ensure that all have the very best conditions and all are properly recognised for what they do, as an individual. Together we can make something special happen with and for this community.

‘Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together’. Paul Ryan