CEO Blog Post 16.10.20

Posted on: 16th Oct 2020

The start of a school year is always challenging.  But this year has been like no other.  I know from Principals the tremendous work that colleagues are doing to keep one another, pupils and schools safe and ensure our pupils receive great education and support.  As we reach half-term from next week – after a really intensive and exhausting start to the school year – it would be good to just reflect on what brings you joy in the work that you do?  It might sound a bit cheesy but reflecting and answering will have a positive effect. Go on, try it. 

Woodard Academies Trust Strategy and Implementation Plan

Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation on our new Trust strategy.  The responses were overwhelmingly positive and the suggestions have helped improve the strategy further.  As a result we will:

  • incorporate promoting pupil well-being, a rounded education and hope, and retain the importance of curiosity;
  • in maximising progress for all groups of pupils, include those with high prior attainment;
  • make clear that our plans for growing the Trust are for the end of the life of the three-year strategy rather than an immediate priority; and
  • that our improvements to shared services do not involve redundancies and are about creating roles that enable people to use and develop their skills to best effect.

There were also good points about improving communications and the connection between colleagues and the Trust: we will incorporate these into our plans for the making the strategy and implementation plan feel real and relevant to our work and future direction. 

Professional Development

Woodard Webinar #3: Evidence-informed teaching and learning with Catherine Scutt, Director of Education and Research, at the Chartered College of Teaching, is available to view on the Woodard Staff Portal. 

It was really interesting to see the levels of misconceptions about how pupils learn.  She helpfully provided a reference to the top 7 pillars of classroom practice, which is well worth a read if you don’t have time to watch the webinar.  And she recognised how much work needs to go into incorporating evidence-based approaches into everyday teaching to produce improved pupil outcomes.  We all know that habits are really difficult to change. So a lot to think about as we take forward work on the quality of teaching and learning to improve pupil outcomes, through good practice on assessment and curriculum and developing subject communities across the Trust.        


Following Mary Myatt’s webinar on the curriculum last term – also available to view on Staff Portal – we had a 3-hour twilight training session for Senior Leadership Teams on leading the development and delivery of an excellent school curriculum.  We’re just part-way through the training at the moment – the second session is next month – so I will write more about it in future messages.  Whilst we all grapple with the pandemic, and the possibility of further restrictions, it was a reminder of our core purpose: delivering a curriculum that will change children and giving them all, especially those who have gaps in their knowledge and understanding, their entitlement to an excellent education.  

Have a great half-term when it comes. 

Hardip Begol





Hardip Begol
Chief Executive Officer

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