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CEO Blog Post 20.01.22

Dear colleaguesHardip

Thank you for making such a great start to 2022, despite the pressures of pupil and colleague absences.  The term started with our first WAT INSET Day – a morning of Trust-wide work and a school-led afternoon.  Thank you for your feedback on the morning – the CPD sessions were rated 3.6-3.9 (out of 5), so there’s scope for improvement – and we received some wonderful suggestions for topics for future days. 

On my visit to The Littlehampton Academy earlier this month, it was great to see the new senior team with Zara Tippey back in and Sue Pike in charge of curriculum and teaching and learning.  We discussed the priorities for the term.  The impressive murals of local scenes and landmarks in the atrium area were also a delight to see!

I also visited St Augustine Academy earlier this week to attend the standards and safeguarding committee and look through the progress of KS4 pupils and safeguarding across the school.  A highlight was meeting students and listening to their praise for teachers and the school.  There was strong support from the pupils for greater attention to teaching about mental health, challenging inequality and racism, and addressing sexual harassment, all of which are on the agenda for schools.

Professional Development

I’m really pleased that we have been able to secure Adam Boxer for our next Woodard Webinar to talk about Ambition and Engagement in the Classroom at 4-5pm on 3 March 2022.  He’ll cover possibly one of the most important topics in teaching and learning: how to get children thinking about what the teacher wants (because as Daniel Willingham says: “memory is the residue of thought”.)   Adam is a serving Head of Science at a London school, author, co-founder of Carousel Learning and is on twitter: @adamboxer1  

Reading

I’ve just started a book about how a country I know relatively well – Spain – deals with difficult periods in its past.  I thought it might give me a wider perspective on the public debates we are having here about our own view of British history and how to judge historical figures.   

Ghosts of Spain


News

I wanted to end with some news about me.  Due to personal circumstances, I am relocating abroad in Autumn 2022, which means I will have to step down as CEO of the Trust.  You will appreciate how difficult this is as I am really enjoying the role and, in particular, working with such great colleagues. 

I am really proud of how everyone at the Trust – pupils, staff, trustees and academy council members – has come together to respond to the pandemic and deliver on our strategic goals.  Over the past two years, pupil progress has improved significantly from below average to average; we now have 4 out of 6 schools rated as Good by Ofsted, up from 2; staff engagement has risen to 74.9% (+2.3%) and pupil numbers rose by 4% in 2021.

An advert for a new CEO will go out next month and trustees are seeking to recruit a CEO who will continue the improvements and set our future direction with a new 2023-26 strategy.  We are aiming for the new CEO to start in September 2022.

Over the next eight months, I look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the life chances of our young people and make the Trust a great place to work. 

Hardip Begol
Chief Executive Officer

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