Not a club, not a clique; a blank page.
Now is the time for us to come together as Leaders to promote a grassroots voice for all; putting us at the heart of the discussion, debate and decision-making within our sector. Freedoms associated with sector reform currently manifest for a very small group of Executives who have the time and ear of those with power. The vast majority of Trust CEOs, Headteachers and sector leaders feel ignored, isolated and irrelevant to the decisions that affect us all. This paper frames a blank page for Community Leaders to start on together; we are seeking your views, input and support immediately before we begin to write upon it. We aim to build a guiding coalition of equals; with both shared mission and collective security. We are not trying to be an alternative replacement to what has been; we want to start a conversation that has never yet been had.
As School and Academy leaders we must work with key stakeholder groups to ensure that education can effectively contribute to creating a more balanced society, one which ensures individuals and families have the necessary support and resilience to withstand future crises. To accomplish this we must challenge the status quo and reform. Academy leaders cannot and must not work in a vacuum; the voice we find must be shaped and complemented by leaders from all settings going forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of every school being at the heart of its community and for us, as education leaders, to also be community leaders willing to share our views and experiences by supporting each other. In this way we hope to ensure all groups have a voice and work together for the collective good of our communities. The post COVID-19 landscape is unknown territory which we are all rightly concerned about. In particular the long term impact on some of our most vulnerable children and their families. For this voice to be heard we must presume genuine partnership as the model we go forward with.
As Chief Executives, concerned about the long term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on society, (particularly through the lens of child development, welfare and education), we want to broaden our work with key stakeholder groups to ensure that education can effectively contribute to creating a society which ensures all individuals and families thrive. Finding a collective voice as Trust Leaders is the first step to then finding wider partnership with other Sector leaders, in all settings.
To create a safe space for community leaders to share their ideas on how we can safely and effectively return, recover and regenerate post COVID-19. Our aim is to develop a collective voice which will be heard and respected by local, regional and national political leaders.
For our collective voices to be heard and heeded we believe the following must be the basis for agreeing a set of principles, together:
- To be a voice for the whole education sector, not certain sub-sections.
- To find voice and authority within collective purpose and security.
- To move beyond a Network and “be the net”.
- To promote community-focused leadership with children and families at the centre.
- To promote Education as a fundamental pillar of society.
The collective response to the challenge facing us has cut across traditional barriers and structures and has shown us the true potential that exists to work together. We have felt far too separate in a fragmented system, for far too long. This recent experience has taught us that collective action and collaboration is truly the basis for community transformation; the best and only way to support families and children. We believe that as a Collective, our voice can be anchored in Community and Civic Leadership where Educational intent is reframed as an “Aspiration Agenda for All” within the Communities we serve.
We believe that Education is a Collective Endeavour. The shared purpose of being an Educator is due to a commitment and belief in:
These principles are promoted because they help to channel and refine individual and collective endeavour within a positive framework. This means that a competitive and divisive approach to Education is rejected.
We will be guided by the co-operative values of democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. We believe in the values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. All voices will be heard, and through our core values, all messages will be supported by the collective. Ours will be a space where those who have not yet “found their voice” can be heard, can listen, can learn and grow.