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Schools, academies .....

Spent some time at another school this week. Let's call it Mystery School. It was impressive. Great buildings, enthusiastic members of staff, informed senior leaders and interested governors (who don't get paid by the way). And the pupils - and there were lots of them - were smartly dressed and seemed polite and respectful. So a good school. I enjoyed my visit. It's a local authority school not an academy. Would you know? Not at all. It's had an individual nature for years and has done some innovative things. I never thought schools needed to be free of local authority control to be impressive - and I still don't.

However we live in a new era. Every year the money local authorities can access to support schools is reduced. The expectation is that all schools will become academies. Initially it was to be achieved before the end of this parliament but now it seems the target is unofficially moved to the end of the next one. The train seems unstoppable. So Mystery School is looking to become an academy and perhaps to join a trust. It's a big decision for the governors who admirably volunteer to help. I've been a Headteacher - and now a CEO- for a long time. I've interacted with lots of governors and continue to be impressed by the way they are prepared to wrestle with the big educational issues on behalf of their communities. If they didn't give up their time for free we would certainly notice a big difference.

I am increasingly pleased by the way our three academies are moving along. Rushcliffe, Arnold Hill and Farnborough have been working a triumvirate for over two years now. Staff and Governors are working effectively across the three and the trust is developing its own personality. This week pupils from the three academies met together at Arnold Hill for a Maths and English improvement conference. Things are happening. But there is still a lot of work to do in this ever changing educational world.

Lots going on at our three academies. Lots going on at Mystery School. Good people doing their best for young people. Long may it continue.

Enjoy the break.

Phil Crompton