In league, not in tables.

As you know, the leaders and leadership teams of our schools and the college cannot, and will not , not engage in discussion about the merits or otherwise of this week’s industrial action in the education sector and beyond. That’s just how it is. That’s how it has to be. However, the schools and college we have moved on from Wednesday’s action very positively and productivity. We have engaged with our children and young people, bringing our community back together again.

That is the right way forward and I applaud you all for your understanding and support.

As I have said before, through these missives and blogs I shouldn’t push out to you any particular political position, especially my own. It’s important that we as leaders in schools and college, the professionals, remain professionally politically neutral. That doesn’t mean we cannot have views on education and how we would like to see education provision in this country or this community progress, it just means that we shouldn’t get mired in the party politics.

All that said, we are at a point, I would say, where we can now discuss the future of education in this country. We have an exciting opportunity to engage in a dialogue about what we want education should look like in the 2020s and beyond. We can and will do that internally, within our institutions and within the trust, and we should also do that more widely, in our communities and, where possible, at a regional and national level.

I’m not going to use this as an opportunity to set out a political position but I am comfortable taking the opportunity to remind you of some of the things that I do wholeheartedly believe in, for this community, for our educational community.

We can start by discussing that we are a multi-age multi-academy trust. And why is that? Because we believe that the learning journey is as important as the destination. The experiences of the children and young people, at whatever stage of their educational journey, should be as positive as possible. Rightly we spend so much time talking about teaching and learning and we understand that what goes on in the classroom, those daily interactions, be that the academic or the pastoral conversations, do make a difference to the children and young people of this community. We are working hard to overcome those challenges around transition points, when children can often fall backwards or, at best, remain stagnant.

We, in this trust, put people at the heart of all that we do. We are in the people business, as I’ve said numerous times before. We do want to invest in our schools and the college, ensuring they have the tools and conditions to be the very best they can be. Why? Because we value those people we serve. Put simply, our charges should be motivated and inspired on a daily basis. We want them to believe that they can be or become much more than they ever imagined. And that positivity, which we bring to our work with our children and young people, will allow all to thrive. We will change lives. We aspire for them. We inspire them. We want all of this community to believe that the future will be significantly brighter than some of those dark days of the recent past.

I recently read a phrase: ‘In league, not in tables’. The article (by Roy Blatchford) sets out the case for, what was then described as neighbourhood partnerships, for education from 3 to 19. The paper argued that schools and colleges working alongside each other, whatever the stage or age of the child, brought tangible benefits to the experiences of all of the children and young people in a community.