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Balancing now and the future

15th June 2020

Balancing now and the futureSecondary Schools join Primary Schools in wider re-opening this week. Hearing Primary colleagues share their learning has been beneficial for our Secondary teams; the nuance of secondary advice from government may be slightly different but is equally challenging. It has been impressive and heartening to see how well schools have been adapting provision and welcoming children back into school.

The vital role school communities play has never been as clear or present than in these current circumstances. Whether through key worker and vulnerable learner provision, online learning delivery, virtual assemblies and parents’ evenings our work has always remained active, engaging and vital.

We also recognise the social glue we provide to our families and children; organising computer access for our vulnerable children, delivering food parcels or lunch vouchers, following up pastoral support calls and liaising with social services - the wider role of education has never been exposed more clearly than before. It is often this side of our work that is slightly lost and it has been heartening to see all schools have not forgotten this core aspect of our work. Thank you for all that has been achieved here, and continues to be undertaken, despite sometimes being unseen.

While we have been striving to get that balance right with provision now, I am also aware that planning for the future is well underway. Our old normal and new normal combine in the sense that work planning for the next academic year always takes place at this time of year, and this year is no different. We are struck by the challenge that what the next academic year looks like remains uncertain. Whether we are fully ‘back’ or in some reduced, socially distant, capacity is unclear. What is clear, however, is that we need to plan for delivering the best for our young people.

Thank you to headteachers for continuing to plan timetables, engage in SEF discussions with SiPs and share development aims for the coming year. We look forward to sharing our plans as a wider group of colleagues at our joint AST & GEP Heads meeting this week, where we can identify the support that schools require and clarify the roles schools and their leaders will play in shaping the trust to benefit the requirements of their schools.

As always, our eye is on the present and the future. Enjoy the week ahead.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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