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Welcome back!

1st September 2020

It is a pleasure to welcome colleagues to the new academic year. The usual combination of excitement, nervousness and enthusiasm greet every new academic year, but perhaps in this case, all three emotions alongside a whole host of others, are present today.

I wish to begin by thanking everyone in our school communities for working so hard, often across the summer, to ensure we are ready and prepared for a safe return to school this autumn. Circumstances are different, and we all are adapting to providing the children with vital learning continuity and support.

We all understand that we may well need to be adaptive and make circumstances work in our favour over the next few months, but children back at school is the right thing at the right time. Thank you for all your school specific briefings, parental letters, governing body liaison, Trust meetings and staff consultations to get us to where we are. It is noticed and appreciated.

The new academic year sees us add to our team supporting you in our great schools this year. I am pleased to welcome two education directors joining us. Kathryn Krynicki joins us as Primary Education Director, working alongside Andrew, Rachel, Hannah, and Carol, our Primary School Improvement Partner. Kathryn brings huge experience as a National Leader in Education and will work with Primary colleagues one day a week, alongside her headship of Pyrford Primary School. Also joining us as Secondary Education Director is Graham Tuck. Graham brings significant experience of Surrey schools having served as a successful headteacher in two Surrey secondaries in his time, but his last seven years have been undertaken as National Education Director of Oasis Academies. We are excited about the opportunities, experience and drive these colleagues will add to our team and the difference this will make to our school educational support. Alongside our continuing and successful school improvement partnership with GEP, we really are well equipped to support headteachers and staff continue in the improvement journey of providing the very best education to Guildford children.

I do hope to see you in person soon, although this may be more sporadic than hoped and might often involve a socially distanced computer screen. Enjoy each other’s company, welcome the children back and keep placing their learning at the heart of all we do.

With best wishes for the new academic year.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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