25 October 2018

There’s something in the air…

By Richard Gill, ATLP CEO

It’s hard to believe that eight weeks have passed since we started the academic year. Yet the darker nights and Autumn air are nature’s reminder that October half-term is near!

Eight weeks is a relatively short time in the lifecycle of education, yet we’ve already packed in so much: William MacGregor school has joined our family, along with Scotch Orchard’s new associate deputy head, Laura Braybrooke. Meanwhile, our associate teachers are already half way through their placements in partner schools.

This week, I was struck by the words of former national schools commissioner, David Carter, who said: “collaboration is the oxygen of school improvement.” As a growing MAT, ATLP believes in working together to reap mutual rewards, as part of the continuous school improvement cycle.

Creating sustainable learning environments is central to our development and wellbeing. Brookvale has been breathing new life into its outdoor learning spaces, working alongside volunteers to renovate the school allotment. It’s been a labour of love, and children and staff from the gardening club, who are looking forward to harvesting their first crop of vegetables.

Coleshill students have also been tending to flowers of a different kind, as part of a community art project. They’ve been creating amazing clay poppies, which I look forward to seeing as part of the school’s Remembrance Day activities next term.

Green-fingered Slade staff and pupils have also been working with others to transform their community allotment, and their efforts were recognised at the Stockland Green Pride Awards. Our staff and students are real ambassadors for our academies. During his visit to Stockland Green School’s open evening, Erdington MP Jack Dromey, praised its: “highly motivated sparkling pupils, their proud parents and excellent teachers.”

Across town, fellow MP Andrew Mitchell met some of John Willmott’s 100 new student ambassadors, including year 13’s Iqra Yaqub. She said: “I’m very proud to have been chosen for this role, it gives me an opportunity to make a difference, to work with others and to support and guide younger children.”

While MPs visited schools in their constituencies, our senior leaders represented the ATLP in the capital. Hill West’s Emily Bolton and Stuart Lackenby, rubbed shoulders with rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson at the launch of this year’s Parliamentary Review, which features an article by headteacher Dr Beth Clarke. Two royal invitations also landed: Mere Green headteacher, Jenny Maskell, was a guest at Princess Eugenie’s wedding, much to the excitement of pupils, and Arthur Terry’s Sue Bailey will collect her MBE at Buckingham Palace this half term.

And behind all of this, of course, are you: our formidable staff body who give tirelessly each and every day to enhance the life chances of our children and young people. From me: a heartfelt and sincere thank you for everything you do. I continue to be inspired by such talented and committed colleagues.

Enjoy your break with friends and loved ones – now relax and breathe!