CEO Blog

Reflecting on the term so far

School cloakroom showing bags hanging on pegs

Firstly, I want to start by expressing my thanks to each and everyone of our staff for their tremendous commitment this past half term, as we have continued to deal with the ongoing disruption from the pandemic. All of the trust schools have been affected at various points since January, with staff and student absence, the subsequent disruption and the additional workload. Despite this, they have achieved a good degree of “business as usual”, thanks to the support and the flexibility of staff across all of the different roles within our schools and I do appreciate just how challenging this has been at times. The trust values are integrity, inclusion and innovation and I can see how these have been the cornerstone of our response to the ever changing challenges that we have faced over the last two years.

Paul Carvin stepped down from his role as Chair of the Trust Board after seven years of distinguished service. During this time Paul has led and overseen the growth and development of the Three Rivers, from three schools to our current position of eight. Paul’s commitment to the trust has never wavered and his educational expertise has positively impacted all of our schools. We are delighted that Paul will remain a trustee and will continue to lead the trust’s response to the climate emergency. Colin Pearson is the new Chair of the Trust Board. Colin has great experience in governance, for many years he was the chair of Abbeyfields Governors and then as a trustee, from 2014 when Abbeyfields joined the trust. Colin currently chairs the Northumberland Schools Forum and has a great passion for the education of all children and young people. I would like to welcome Colin to this role and look forward to working with him on the future development of the trust.

Part of the trust vision is for our staff to be fulfilled in their work. In order to support with this, we recently carried out a staff voice survey, which has provided us with several actions, including how the trust communicates, creating time for staff to network and share best practice both in school and across the trust, and reviewing effective systems that reduce workload and improve efficiencies, to name but a few. Work is already underway on completing the actions identified and it is our intention to repeat the survey on a bi-annual schedule, so that we can track progress and identify future actions.

This reflection wouldn't be complete without extending congratulations to all of the staff at Chantry Middle School who were inspected last term and received a good judgement in all areas. This was one of the first inspections we have experienced under the new Education Improvement Framework (EIF) and it was a very positive experience and quite different from the previous inspection framework. The inspection team spent a lot of time talking and listening to leaders, teachers and students and focused their time on 4 curriculum areas in particular. Reading, literacy and the provision for SEND students in each classroom were the ‘golden threads’ running through, as well as the personal development of students, through PHSE, but also wider curriculum and extra curricular provision. Safeguarding, of course, was a key theme throughout. We now await the report in respect of Newminster Middle School, who were also inspected recently.

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