Chooks at Dawn

I went out to feed the chooks at dawn this morning, and a bright and pink-skied dawn it was. Frosty too, so I sprayed defroster on the car on the way down and, since it hadn’t even touched the frost on the windscreen, I put the engine on as I returned for breakfast. So, ten minutes later, I was able to set off on my journey to my 9 am meeting an hour away. Srsly, darlings, I thought I was way past that sort of thing.

It was fine, I left at 7.47 and arrived at 8.49, not having hurried. And the meeting was interesting, which isn’t in inverted commas, and I was home by 2 o’clock. Someone asked at one point, we are the Members of the academy trust with overall responsibility and we appoint the Trustees, who will be the over-arching governors of all the schools in the jurisdiction of the multi-academy trust ….. who appointed us?

We reasoned it out. The governing bodies of the three schools involved so far have set up working parties and they’ve come together, and it’s in the remit of those groups to progress to appointing Members who have the authority to appoint Trustees: but this is provisional. To be ratified, the governors of each school have to approve that and tell their Trust Members, who then agree to offer, subject to Department for Education approval, to disband their individual academy trusts and approve the new Members of the new Multi-Academy Trust.

Yeah. Glad we got this far. This has been announced and I’m not breaking any confidence – as if I would. I’m as sure as I can be that we have integrity – which means, to me, that we put the education and well being of our pupils first and that we are altruistic.

Lovely, loveliest Tim has cooked dinner this evening and been totes adorbs and, after my early start, I had a stupidly long afternoon nap. Ten minutes to half an hour is fine, after that I zonk out and take a while to recover; and that’s what happened this afternoon. What that says for my quality of sleep tonight is debatable. I’ll let you know tomorrow.

2 comments on “Chooks at Dawn

  1. Blue Witch

    I am saddened that education has sunk to the level that it has in England.

    Umpteen different MATs all doing their own thing and believing their own thing, and not particularly accountable to anyone, at a fundamental level. How many of them use actual evidence base for their decisions? Or, indeed, even have the expertise to know what good educational research is, where it can be found, or how it can be commissioned? How are parents supposed to understand the differences between/strengths and weaknesses of the various MATs in their area?

    No criticsm of your set-up intended, just that, just as with the NHS, there is much unintended consequence to ‘recent’ developments, and not a lot of it is in the students’/patients’ best interests.

    But, I’m sure you’re doing your best for as long as you’re part of it. There will come a time, in the not too distant future, when there are not people with your vast knowledge and experience of governing to lead things/keep a check on things. It’s not a happy future, and £££ will lead more and more in the future.

    I’ve already been in 2 meetings where parents of kids with particular needs have been told that they can’t be met because of ‘budgetry restrictions’ and the parents should be looking for another school for their child. Quoting the 2010 Equality Act in one case elicited the response, “Our CEO’s wife is a barrister and so we don’t have to worry about that.” Wish I’d been secretly recording the meeting…

    1. Z Post author

      Michael Gove has so much to answer for. He set up this total hodgepodge of free schools, academies, sponsored academies run by commercial organisations while he ran down funding for education authorities – Suffolk used to have one of the best in the country and the range and quality of its provision has diminished because of financial cutbacks. These are three very good schools, but we all know that we’re only one Ofsted away – if the rules are arbitrarily changed again, as happens repeatedly, and we fail – from being forced to join a MAT that may not share our values at all. We want each school to retain its own identity and we want to employ people to support the students directly – it’s been the case for years that a child who needs counselling or any extra support of that nature has to go on a long waiting list and, only too often, the over-stretched Ed Psych or welfare officer has gone on long-term sickness leave through stress and no help has been forthcoming at all. We pay a lot for services that we sometimes don’t receive consistently. The issue you cite in your last paragraph doesn’t happen here, it’s wrong that it does anywhere – I can’t say that all needs are met because the budgetary restrictions are real, but we have never dumped a child who needed support in that way. The government makes the cuts and the schools get blamed for not providing the services that simply aren’t there and genuinely can’t be afforded. As of the end of last term – I haven’t asked this term yet – the extra money that the Chancellor patronisingly described as for little extras had not been forthcoming. Schools hadn’t been told how much to expect or when they might get it.

      I have often been in the situation of having to make the best of poor governmental decisions. Even in the last thirty years, there were various educational fads brought in almost annually, most of which were quietly dropped after a year or two, having cost a lot of time and money in the meantime.

      We’ve done the best we could with all the unwise initiatives of the government in power and, actually, been quite lucky on the whole. For example, we desperately needed a new primary school around 15 years ago and so, very reluctantly but pragmatically, agreed to join a PPI scheme. With the greatest good fortune, at a fairly late stage in the preparations, the company involved ran into severe problems and had to pull out. So the government had to fund the new school after all – those who had, for excellent reasons, not wanted to be involved in a PPI, got nothing. We weren’t so lucky with Brown’s BSF at the high school – some schools got millions, we had water pouring through the roof because he ran out of money just before we were due to get anything.

      The three schools are still stand-alone academies, having held back from making hasty decisions. But we are all struggling financially, though all still solvent, and pooling some administrative resources will help there. While the government is still ignoring the running of the country in favour of over-hasty Brexit dealings, there is no prospect of a financial improvement. I can’t remember a time when the government and the opposition have been so lamentably inept and continued to get away with it. Those with the actual responsibility of looking after the students are doing their best for them – we can only work within the system as it’s imposed on us.


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