Headteacher Blog

March Headteacher blog – Double dare accepted!

pexels-photo-56916.jpegOver the last year our School Business Leader (SBL) and I have been daring (and double daring) each other to write a blog and last weekend she succeeded. Being ultra-competitive it meant I had to write one too. I honestly hadn’t realised how long I had been putting it off, but dishwasher stacked, house tidied, revision timetable coloured in with pretty gel pens I procrastinate no more. Here goes…

In 5 days’ time our school will officially become part of The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT) and take the next step in our 150 year journey. It has certainly been a journey to get to this point.

2½ years ago our LA told us that we all had to become an academy within 6 months. The academy process was gathering momentum throughout the country but we thought we could keep our heads down and pretend it wasn’t happening. Suddenly the rug was pulled out from under our feet. Nobody really wanted anything to change, everyone was happy working together and our schools were successful. But, dreading being the last person picked for the rounder’s team (which is what it felt like as small groups of professionals starting congregating in the metaphorical playground) we did exactly as we were told. 6 months of researching and listening to different MAT presentations, we made our decision and thought that from then on it would be plain sailing. How wrong we were.

Being a church school, joining a non-denominational MAT wasn’t easy and involved numerous negotiations. Luckily, we had a Diocesan Board of Education who was prepared to listen and understand our decision. After initial reluctance, thankfully they became supportive.

We had our wobbles 1. Was joining a cross-phase MAT right? 2. Would we still have a job at the end of it? 3. What did we not know? (Answers: 1 and 2. Yes  3. Oh my word-loads!)

The legal process has felt like buying and selling a house, getting married and having a baby all at the same time. Funnily enough nothing in my NPQH taught me about due diligence, land conversion, TUPE or license agreements and yet I felt like I had to have an opinion on all of it. My relationship with our SBL deepened as we attended meetings, panicked, cried, laughed, responded to numerous emails, panicked a bit more, reassured each other and hoped that we weren’t turkeys voting for Christmas! We also ate a lot of giant chocolate buttons- I mean a lot!

Every time we went to a meeting with our new Trust, we came back buzzing and full of ideas and enthusiasm. Our decision to join this Trust was right. When we got back to school, we still felt that there were mountains to climb to actually get there. (Cue X-Factor Climb song- we do also sing a lot) We know we can be an asset to the Trust. We know we have a lot to offer.

The deadline approached and at the 12th hour the forms arrived. Before signing them, hands up, we googled what lots of the legal jargon meant (we felt like Y6 children practising a SAT comprehension). Forms – completed before deadline day got dark and clocks changed. The pub was calling.

After Easter we will officially be part of TPLT. Our Trust is forward thinking and does stuff – I love it already and am a passionate raving fan. We feel appreciated and part of a bigger family who are determined that everyone is valued and will succeed together. Cue song… ‘We are family…’

Lisa Dadds

Headteacher, St Anne’s Church Academy

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