Summer 2019 Update
Review of the year
This has been our first full academic year as Inspiring Learners, and what an incredible year it has been. I wanted to take the opportunity, on behalf of all trustees, to reflect a little on the past year, and talk about some of our plans for next year.
This year has gone incredibly fast, but I feel that we’ve achieved a lot as a trust. As a board, we’re really getting to know each other well. We have regular scheduled meetings every two months, but we meet outside of that at school events, special meetings, and away-days. There is always a fantastic buzz when we meet - all our trustees are positive, knowledgeable and passionate about the trust and our schools. There’s a real danger when discussing matters of the board that we can lose site of the actual reason that we are doing this - the children. So we make sure to start board meetings with stories of success from children at the two schools, and everything we talk about is brought back down to its impact on the children.
Our most recent meeting was an away-day at the Life Centre in Sale, where we spent the whole day looking at developing various strategies - Leadership, School Improvement, Communications, Governance and HR. We managed to get a huge amount done over the course of the day, and we’re looking forward to developing these strategies further, and then sharing them.
We're having a fantastic trust away day today at@LifeCentreMcr, developing our trust strategy. Brilliant to have heads of @tyntesfield and @thebollin with us to share their thoughts, particularly on the school improvement side. pic.twitter.com/2tCRr6vBHl— Inspiring Learners MAT (@inspirelearnMAT)July 17, 2019
Our Local Governing Body have been fantastic as well. It’s been a huge undertaking to govern across two schools, but we needed that in place to provide the support and challenge at the local level. Our governors have put in a huge amount of work over the last year, in some very long meetings, and this is something we are really grateful for - those meetings, and the associated preparation can be very gruelling.
As trustees, we try to get in to both schools as much as possible. Over the last year we’ve been to fairs, quizzes, discos, open days, sports days, leavers’ productions and pupil presentations, many of which wouldn't happen without our incredible PTAs. It’s really important to us that we spend time in the schools, so we can get a feel for how the schools are working.
There are so many positives about both schools. At Bollin the sense of community is tremendous. The grounds are looking amazing, and this is down to that community - staff and parents giving their time and energy to bring the vision to life. I can’t wait to see what happens over the course of the 50th birthday celebrations next year.
We’re also seeing some changes to the curriculum at Bollin for next year. Subject leaders have researched and designed the curriculum, and the way the whole curriculum is being strategically implemented will have a really positive impact on teaching and learning across the whole school. Once fully embedded in Bollin, we’ll be able to take lessons learned across to Tyntesfield, continuing to make use of the strong links we have between subject leads.
Tyntesfield also continues to embody our trust values. Hosting the Shanghai Showcase lessons as part of our maths mastery programme was a real highlight. Held in conjunction with the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics, we hosted expert maths teachers from Shanghai for two weeks, culminating in four ‘showcase lessons’ where teachers from across the North West came to observe. It’s fantastic to be at the cutting edge of developing and implementing new teaching methods, and there’s certainly lessons we can learn from the Shanghai teachers.
Much of this good stuff from both schools is down to the Heads of Schools - Mrs Manion and Mrs O’Hara. Mrs O’Hara has settled in fantastically well at Bollin, and is really helping to shape the school, while Mrs Manion continues to drive Tyntesfield forward, leading with strength and passion. I’m especially pleased with the way the two Heads of Schools are working together, sharing ideas and supporting each other. Of course none of this happens in isolation, and we are fortunate that our Heads of Schools are supported by fantastic leadership and staff teams.
Finally, on a sadder note from Tyntesfield - Mrs Pope is retiring at the end of this academic year. Mrs Pope has been absolutely fantastic in our nursery for many years now - she taught all three of my children, and I’m sure that every child and parent who has been through that classroom has fond memories of their time there. While Mrs Pope is retiring from teaching, I’m really pleased that she’s going to continue to serve on the governing body of both schools. Good luck Mrs Pope..!
We’ll have a break over the summer, but when we come back we’ll be getting to work implementing our various trust strategies, and our trust development plan. We’re hoping to increase the amount that we communicate with everyone who has an interest in the trust - with more blog posts, tweets, and letters.
We’ll also be aiming to continue with the excellent compliance record we’ve established. Ensuring we continue to meet guidelines laid down both internally and externally is very important to us, and our staff, especially our trust finance director and office staff have been instrumental in us doing so well so far in adhering to these rules.
We also want to make sure we spend more time in our schools - talking to children, staff and our heads of schools. We are working on a framework that will allow us to conduct purposeful enquiries while in school, which we think will really strengthen our strategic governance role, as well as continuing to get to know our schools.
If you see us in school - we’ll have pale blue lanyards with ‘Trustee’ printed on - please do talk to us, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Have a fantastic summer break, and we’ll see you in the new year!