Our Professional Learning Day

24th November 2023

I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of our community for bearing with us all as we held our Inspire Learning Trust Professional Learning Day. It was a fantastic day, with professionals from across the Trust and from the full range of curriculum areas and professional services teams, coming together to work alongside each other.

During the day we talked about Inspire Learning Trust (Sitwell Junior School, Oakwood High School, Winterhill School and Thomas Rotherham College) being a truly inclusive trust. Inclusivity is about our children and young people – of course it is! But equally, and as importantly, it’s about the community which we serve. We must develop an understanding of what it is; what we can do for that community. It’s also about, and this is often forgotten in schools and colleges, working with, alongside and for our adults, our professionals. Whatever we do, whatever our role we all have a contribution to make!

When we leap out of bed in the morning to come to work so early, it’s not because of the pounds, shillings, and pence (for those of a certain age). We engage with our work, our challenges and our charges because we truly believe in what we’re trying to achieve. We do that for the children and young people, we do that for the community and, let’s not forget, we do that for each other.

You will all have your definitions of what to be ‘inclusive’ might be; what it might look like. I’m not going to engage in a lengthy debate here about that, other than to say inclusivity is about seeing the individual, whilst considering the collective. What we do with, and for, that individual must add value to the collective; through the care for every child, young person and adult we serve. We want every single person to feel that they are part of something bigger, part of something important.

And as a community we all have a role to play. Working in education is tough. You will know that and so we ask that every interaction with the adults who work with and for your children and young people is positive, polite and respectful; do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Sadly, we do have few occasions when our parents and carers are rude, disrespectful and unhelpful. We do not and will not accept or tolerate that. As we all do for you, think twice, take care and be polite.

I hope that you all can feel that you are part of something bigger, something important and something which will make a difference.

I’ll leave you with the African philosophy of Ubuntu

I am because we are.

I do because we do.

They are because we are.

They do because we do.

Next Friday’s Training Day

17th November 2023

I hope that you’ve had a good week. We are very much in the depths of autumn now. It’s getting darker, it’s getting windy, it’s been wet for a long time, and it’s getting colder.

Maybe Children in Need will bring a bit of warmth this weekend. I’ll be giving to Pudsey (and maybe shedding an emotional tear at some of the stories we’ll listen to).

We have a shortened week next week. We are having our third annual trust INSET Day. This means that all of our community children and young people will be having a four day week.

We’ll all be working together, as staff, as professionals, at Winterhill School, next Friday.  This event will be an opportunity for all of our professionals to work on collaboration, which will underpin all of our endeavours. We’ll be discussing how working together can lift our practice, policy and expectations; that is expectations of our children and young people and of ourselves.

At the Professional Learning Day, we will take some time to think about what it means to be part of our (this) multi-academy trust. Whichever institution we are attached to or associated with, will understand that we are rooted by some very clear values.

The job that we do is incredibly difficult. It is terrifically difficult to maintain a sense of purpose whilst you face the challenges day in and day out, which pupils and students might bring. We know that when we leap out of bed in the morning we do so because we are committed to the children and young people, with whom we work, and we believe in our collective endeavours. Working in education, working in schools or in colleges, is not a 9-to-5 job, with a pay packet at the end of the week – some of you may well be old enough to remember the brown envelope you picked up on a Friday with a few pound notes in. It’s much more challenging and important than that.

‘Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved’. Mattie Stepanek