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New Year, same principles

4th January 2021

Rarely have we started a year with such uncertainty, but also such collective resolve. At times of uncertainty, we need to rely on our values and first principles. I am pleased to confirm that our desire to provide the best education we can to our young people remains as strong as ever. We continue to do all we can to ensure our children get the very best deal possible. We do this with all our staff. Alongside each other and together.

In meetings with trust headteachers and leaders yesterday there was a sense of calm and purpose in the face of the challenges ahead of us. Secondary schools are advanced in their preparation for testing arrangements in schools. We recognise, as a trust, that supporting this development is right for our children and staff. The volunteer response from our community in exploring testing arrangements has been positive. We all accept that the timing and communication of announcements and expectations could have been improved. However, all of us recognise that for our staff and children doing all we can to support effective testing in schools is the right step to take. I thank all our colleagues for their work and commitment, often undertaken throughout the holidays. We will continue to support schools in arrangements and practical application as far as possible over this week and the coming term.

We continue to work hard in keeping our schools and workplaces as safe as possible. We accept colleagues may have concerns and will work with individuals and union representation to ensure that all members of staff feel supported. I would like to thank our primary headteachers in particular for their calm responses to this developing situation. Our principles as a trust remain – to provide the very best education for our young people as possible.

LiftyouhigherI saw a simple graphic recently which struck a chord with me, and I hope with you. At times we all need other people … and they need us. Remember to lean on others to lift you higher … and be there for those who need you to do the same.

Whatever the changes that may face us during the course of this term let us keep our values of partnership, collaboration, integrity and excellence at the forefront. Always guided by our aims to support each other and provide the best for the children we serve.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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