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Getting our Heads together

21st September 2020

The old adage ‘two heads are better than one’ is true. It is also true that 14 heads are better than one. This week sees our first formal Athena & GEP Headteachers’ meeting of the academic year. Given the myriad and complexity of challenges facing schools currently, this mutual support, sharing of ideas and best practice discussion is vital.

Our current education climate presents many tests. Tests, which our schools and Headteachers are meeting effectively. We are proud of the return to schools and our ability to adapt and adjust to provide high quality learning in challenging times. Sharing best practice between schools is a central plank to our response and support as a Trust. Covid case management, effective budget spend and remote learning training and expectations are all areas in which our Headteachers have been liaising with each other – and areas of best practice that will be shared to raise our provision for the children. No school is an island of perfect ideas and responses. In a world where the national and local situation is changing so fast, our ability to collaborate and agree overarching principles and expectations is essential. Schools have been meeting and sharing best practice in many areas last week – not least, the expectations and management of blended learning between the physical classroom and the remote one.

This ‘heads together’ approach is also vital in the sharing of ideas. We are formulating policy to new challenges. Not everything has been produced before, or trialled in schools. Our schools have been very adept at considering new solutions and approaches to new problems. This sharing of ideas is important. It is often through the discussions and mutual reflection that new learning is born. As a group of Headteachers, we often find ourselves with a clearer focus and an enhanced understanding following group discussion or head-to-head conversation, than we had before.

Finally, mutual support. Every human being needs to feel understood and appreciated. We are hugely lucky to have such a talented and professional bunch of Headteachers leading our schools. However, it can be lonely at times. The knowledge that there is someone else who is in your position and understands your stresses, strains, joys and triumphs is important. Mental health and ‘head health’ are vital and interconnected. Our Headteachers are driven by the needs of their staff and students. Staff welfare is top of every agenda – without a healthy staff (both mentally and physically) our children will not get the best deal we desire for them. Equally important is our support for our Heads.

We come together as a group of Headteachers to support, inspire and care for each other. We also come to share the heavy load. Our meetings maybe virtual (at this time) but our endeavours never more vital.

We look forward to putting our heads together this week.

 

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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