This week I spent some time away from school attending the Bury Primary School Head Teachers Conference. This is an annual event designed to help us reflect on current policy and practice. It is by reflection and collaboration with others that we think about the best approaches to take in order to ensure that our school is the best it can be for our children.

This year the theme of our conference was collaboration. We heard a variety of speakers who are working in and for schools. In particular we heard from Vicky Beer who is the recently appointed Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) for Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

RSCs are responsible for approving and monitoring academies and free schools in their area on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. Their main responsibilities are to monitor the performance of the academies in their area and decide on the development of new academies. We also heard from representatives from Redcar and Cleveland in the North East about the ways schools there work together to ensure they are both supported and challenged.

It was clear that the development of multi-academy trusts, groups of schools entering into formal agreements in order to manage their own improvement and to increase effective collaboration, is growing. Is is becoming a schools-led system and opens up some interesting lines of enquiry for us as a school.

Unsworth and its community has always embraced change. We believe in shaping our own future for the benefit of our children. We also believe in a ‘no excuse’ culture for all children, not just those at Unsworth. That is why myself, Mr Rhodes and a number of our teachers continue to work in other schools to support their improvement. We believe that working in other schools helps make our work in our own school even better.

In the next few weeks the governors will debate when to pursue this issue. With the passage of the new Education and Adoption Bill reaching its final stages in parliament, it is clear that the academisation process is moving at pace. If we are to shape our own future we need to be well informed to be ready to consider all possibilities. Obviously, our parents are very significant partners and full consultation will take place following any governor decisions. As ever, our children come first and will always be at the forefront of our thinking if any change is recommended.

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