Chairs Blog (March 2018)

During our January meeting, the National Committee agreed that in order to keep our network developing and increase the level of support we can provide to you as members, it was important to undertake a full strategic review. So over the past two days the National Committee has undertaken this review, ‘Don’t Panic – Mr Mannering!’.

The main focus of our network will always remain the ability to connect and support each other across  the network and I’m also pleased to say that we all recognised the importance and value of our pupil led initiatives such as the National Awards and National Creative Awards (more about those later). Although it is at an early stage, we did manage to focus on some important  priorities and while I am keen to share these with you in detail, we have agreed that a full and detailed development plan should be designed so we can share it with you in a more completed format. We aim to have this ready for focus during the AGM at out national conference in Newport (on Thursday 5th and Friday 6th – don’t delay – reserve your place today as there are a limited number of places due to us sharing the conference with SEBDA this year).

What I can share is that we have agreed that a major piece of work around redeveloping and ‘future proofing’ our website will form a large part of the development plan and we hope to gain your support to include examples of good practice, case studies , policies and other resources provided by you and your teams so we can provide a rich and useful resource for us to actively use.

The process was hugely demanding and I would like to thank the members of the National Committee for their dedication and creativity and I am really excited about the prospect of bringing the targets to life by including all our members within the final plan.

As promised, back to the National Awards and National Creative Awards. As you know, they are both open and I am pleased to say we have already had a raft of entries and again the standards are incredible. Year on year both the number and level of ability shown by our pupils in both these schemes has increased, meaning that every year we ask more of our judges, so can I ask that you consider sending entries in as soon as possible please. Thank you.

On the subject of the National Awards, I was very lucky to be visiting one of our member schools, Bryn Tirion Hall in North Wales, recently. The Head had invited a past pupil to come and speak to pupils about how it felt to win a National Award as part of their annual celebration. The visiting pupil had won a Silver Award two years previously and came in to talk about her experiences. She described how it had been an amazing and special day, included posh food and that her trophy (which was immaculately kept in the original box) was a prized possession. This visit was hugely powerful both for the pupils and staff of Bryn Tirion Hall and for me as Chair, it brought home the reasons why we created the National Awards and demonstrated the ongoing impact the Awards can have on our individual pupils. So don’t

delay – submit your nominations now.

As ever, please continue to stay connected, pick up the phone, email and pop in to see your fellow members, look after each other. I will look forward to seeing you all at the National Conference in Newport.

Antonio Munoz Bailey