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That's the best word for the first week back. Optimism. Everyone is starting with a clean slate and we can write what we like on it. Not many career choices allow that fresh start. Footballers? We could compare us to them. The transfer fees are a little lower I suppose but every September there's a similar feeling of a new beginning. As a Wigan supporter I have to add that 2 of the last three seasons have ended in relegation - but the intervening year we celebrated winning the league!

Perhaps a farmer is a better comparison. Tend a crop for a year and then see what emerges at the end? It shouldn't be like that and in reality it isn't. Our work is not all about examination results at the end of 5 years. Everyone in education is looking to create a stimulating experience for young people which makes a contribution to them becoming caring, self-sufficient, creative and confident members of our society. If they have a string of top grades behind them then all the better but that is not the only way to gauge the effectiveness of a school.

I spent time at each of the three academies in the trust on Thursday and saw smiles and optimism all around. Great things will happen every day - and some things will get us down. That's life. Let's ensure that we work as a big team to nurture the pupils in our care and help them grow into wonderful adults. And if they get top grades that's even better.

Optimism is the word. Great start.


Phil Crompton
Chief Executive Officer