CEO Blog Post 17.12.2020

Posted on: 17th Dec 2020

Dear colleagues

I know that everyone will be looking forward to the Christmas and New Year break.  This year has been like no other in schools and in wider society.  I want to thank you all for the dedication you have shown to educating pupils and keeping them, and colleagues, safe.  With the vaccine roll-out, it looks like we’ll be able to relax the restrictions we’ve been working under some time in 2021: that’s certainly something to look forward to.


There’s so much to celebrate at our schools this term it’s difficult to pick out just the highlights.  But here goes.  Well done to St. Peter’s Academy in cutting fixed term exclusions by half this term and the introduction of a self-improvement and reflection cycle in performance management; at Polam Hall, they’ve touched the community through the planting of 4000 crocus bulbs and a whole school effort to donate to Feeding Families, and at St. Augustine Academy they’ve helped to plant 400 trees and a Harvest Festival provided food to the local Salvation Army; at Sir Robert Woodard Academy they’ve adapted to operating online, with virtual open and parent evenings, online careers events and assemblies, and staff choirs and Christmas shows through the web; at The Littlehampton Academy, similarly, all KS4 pupils are online and teachers have adapted to Google classroom and live lessons, alongside improving reading with Accelerated Reader awards aplenty.  Kings Priory secured both a music mark and healthy school award this year and had an amazing anti-bullying week.     

Trust Strategy and Implementation Plan  

I wanted to update you on progress on delivering our plan:  Our strategic goals are to raise pupil outcomes, improve schools, increase staff engagement and grow as a Trust and we’re delivering these through stronger leadership and governance – this term we recruited Carol-Anne Alcock as Director of School Improvement and if you haven’t met her yet you will do in 2021; a focus on developing and sharing best practice in assessment and curriculum through CPD and subject communities; and, under the leadership of Michael Astley, the Principal at St. Peter’s Academy, and Vicky Creed, our Director of Corporate Services, a new People Strategy has been prepared that you’ll hear more about next term. 

Professional Development

We’ve had Woodard webinars on curriculum, special educational needs and the science of teaching and learning in 2020.  Senior Leadership Teams have also had two sessions with curriculum expert Christine Counsell on how to lead curriculum in schools: .  If anyone has suggestions for further webinars and speakers for 2021 please drop me an email.   


I’ve finally read Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.  It explains why so many of us have an overly negative view of the world’s problems and under-estimate how much progress and development is happening across the globe.  There’s a great resource called dollar street: which shows the similarities between how people live across the world rather than the images of poverty that regularly appear in the media.  With all that’s happened in 2020, some good news is just what I needed.      


Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year. 

Hardip Begol






Hardip Begol
Chief Executive Officer

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