CEO Blog Post 24.09.20Posted on: 24th Sep 2020
I’ve been so impressed by how well my colleagues have started the new term and the tremendous efforts to ensure pupils are back at school and learning. The planning that went into premises, catering, cleaning, health and safety, curriculum, teaching and learning, pastoral support and administration has been repaid with a successful return. It was a pleasure to meet colleagues at the Trust’s schools this month, although I will have to leave visiting Kings Priory School in Tynemouth until the local restrictions have been lifted.
When there are a 101 other things to do, professional development can sometimes drift towards the bottom of the list. I’m glad that wasn’t the case for the second Woodard Webinar for schools in the Trust and the wider Woodard family of schools.
The 23 September webinar on special educational needs and disability (SEND) by David Bartram OBE was thoroughly engaging: with almost 1 in 6 pupils having SEND it is essential that everyone understands inclusive practice and how to improve outcomes. We’re pleased that we can be joined by Catherine Scutt, the Director of Education and Research at the Chartered College of Teaching, on 29 September at 4-5pm for a webinar on Evidence Informed Teaching and Learning. The past few years have seen a growth in interest in evidence-informed practice in education, and how research can help to inform the choices we make around curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. This session will look at some key questions about using evidence in education, including:
- how can engaging with research help to improve our teaching practice?
- what does cognitive science tell us about how pupils learn best?
- what can research not tell us?
- where can we go to find robust, relevant research?
Colleagues can get the link for the webinar from their Principal and recordings will be available on the staff portal.
School Improvement Plans
I’ve really enjoyed getting a deeper understanding of our schools through school improvement planning. (I know, geek.) It’s been great to see the improvements that have been made and the honest assessments of what more there is to do. We should always be learning, developing and improving. I’ve been particularly interested in differences in pupil outcomes between subjects in the same school: understanding this can enable more tailored and targeted professional development both within and across schools.
I’ve finished Leading Academy Trusts by my former colleague at the Department for Education, Sir David Carter, with Laura McInerney. I’m sure it will become the Handbook for all MATs given how much useful advice it contains. We are developing a new People Strategy at the Trust and the chapter “Why should anyone work for your Trust?” should inform our work and the chapter on risk is an excellent checklist. I was hoping – given the subtitle “Why some fail, but most don’t” – of the inside story (alright, gossip) on some of the failures but I know that David’s much too professional for that.
Chief Executive Officer