High hopes and high ropes: Big ambition on a human-scale

By Richard Gill, CEO, ATLP.

I’m so excited to see the nominations pouring in for our third student awards ceremony!

This spectacular event, which brings together all ATLP schools, aims to celebrate the many successes of our fantastic children and young people. Each year, I’m humbled by our brilliant young people and their incredible stories and I’m proud and privileged to have the chance to stand alongside these extraordinary students once again. And I never forget that for every pupil who is invited to attend, there are 100 others who will have contributed and/or achieved in a different way and is also worthy of recognition. Every child matters.

This year’s awards have been organised by ATLP’s exceptional Student Leadership Team, led by Mrs Sue Bailey and Mrs Rebecca Goode and supported by our wonderful staff and students who have gone above and beyond to ensure that our students have the chance to shine.

The awards are part of the team’s ambitious programme of events and activities, culminating in ATLP’s inaugural Student Conference this summer. This is our most ambitious project yet, joining more than 150 remarkable students and staff for an action-packed day of team building, leadership workshops, competitions, VIP guests and much, much, more!

Such a large-scale event is only possible because of the dedication and generosity of others and I thank everybody for their tireless commitment to ensuring this student vision can become a reality. Special thanks to our hosts and partners, outdoor activity centre, Whitemoor Lakes, whose generous contribution has made it possible for our exceptional children and young people to aim high, to experience opportunities that they may not otherwise have had; to give them a day to remember for the rest of their lives.

Every time I speak to a new set of governors who are thinking about joining the ATLP family, I am asked ‘what’s in this for the children?’ The response is wide and varied, but I’m thrilled that each year the offer grows and develops and that even more is being offered to enrich the lives and opportunities for children across our family of schools, both in the classroom and out.

We are a growing MAT with the power to harness significant change. We remain focused on the human-scale approach to all that we do. Small acts by just one individual can have a lasting impact. This may be a teacher reading with a child, or a member of our support staff volunteering at an after school event, or a governor or PTA member taking part in fundraising. Thank you as always for the valuable role you play individually and collectively for improving the learning environment of our children and young people. There are so many exceptional colleagues across our schools who continue to give, and in doing so, are selfless in their actions.”

If you’re seeking even more inspiration, look no further than fearless Coleshill student Harriett who scaled the dizzy heights and bravely abseiled down Fort Dunlop to raise lots of money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

While not everybody has a head for heights, we can all do more to make a difference to the lives of others, to inspire change in our communities. Nelson Mandela said: “Today we should ask ourselves: what have I done to improve my surroundings in which I live?”

When our students and staff from Arthur Terry travel to South Africa and visit their partner school, they celebrate Mandela Day (July 18 this year) by donating their time to help members of the local community – an enriching experience for everybody involved.

This year, in ATLP’s auspicious A Decade of Difference year we are asking staff (and any students who may wish to take part) to join in by donating one hour of their time to improve their communities and inspire change. From litter picking at lunchtime to volunteering at a local food bank, there are so many small steps we can take individually to make a difference. Imagine what we can achieve as a collective? Your hour of volunteering can take place any time between now and July 18 – just be sure to let your headteacher know and we’ll add your contribution to the ATLP ‘pot’.

As Mandela said: “It is in your hands to make of the world a better place.

Enjoy a happy and healthy Whitsun break with your loved ones,

Richard.