In celebration of all we achieved together in 2021/22

As the last remaining schools sign off for the summer, our CEO, Dr Kate Chhatwal OBE, looks back at another demanding year, celebrating some of the many achievements across the partnership and looking ahead with optimism to 2022/23 when our focus will be ‘human flourishing’.

Before our recent Senior Partner and Hub Manager meeting, I looked back at our 2021/22 newsletters in a review of the year. They told the story of another year in which decades have happened, and schools, trusts and our work as a partnership have continued to be impacted by Covid - necessitating more of the innovation and agility that have been the hallmark of the last couple of years.

The challenges have been plentiful, with secondary schools again functioning as mass testing centres in September before taking on a fraught role as vaccination centres later in the term, just before Omicron took hold. A spring marred by high absences followed, even as schools looked ahead to SATs and public examinations in the summer. Meanwhile, Ofsted returned with a vengeance and the government set out plans for the future in White and Green Papers (though we’ve had a few changes in Secretary of State since then!).

In spite of it all, you have continued, swanlike, to provide the best possible education for your pupils, working hard to ameliorate the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and making up for missed trips and experiences.

As a partnership too, we have been making up for lost time, rejoicing in each other’s company and collaboration at events, including our 10th anniversary celebration at the Houses of Parliament in the autumn, our National Conference at the Oval in the spring, and our recent Trust Leaders’ Conference. Hundreds of you have provided developmental evaluation and challenge through Quality Assurance Reviews, while others have come together to Grow the Top, Extend Leading Practice, and to learn from and with each other in our Jubilee (Regional Headteacher) and Trust Leaders’ Networks, and vibrant local hubs.

Online National Network Meetings have enabled us to meet frequently as a partnership, hearing from speakers including Mary Myatt, David Olusoga, Sam Freedman, Professor Lee Elliot Major and Ndidi Okezie. Schools with accredited Leading Practice have shared it through online webinars and in-person visits.

It’s not been easy, and certainly not everything has gone as we wanted it to. Yet, looking back, it is clear we have much to celebrate.

We are optimistic that next year will be better still. Our golden thread for 2022/23 will be ‘human flourishing’ with inspiring speakers at our events bringing diverse perspectives on what this means – as well as the unique blend of opportunities for collaboration, challenge and professional development offered across our suite of programmes and networks. New schools have until 16 September to join us as Full Partners - more information HERE.

All of us in the central team wish you a wonderful rest, you more than deserve it. We look forward to our work together next year to harness the combined wisdom of the system so every child and young person benefits from an excellent education and educational disadvantage is reduced.