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Roy Hodgson can speak French

Did you see it this week? An English footballer manager speaking to the Mayor of a French town – Chantilly?- in French.  Well done Roy. It was something I never thought I’d see.  I’ll set asides concerns that he might not pick the right team and praise the lift he must surely have given the image of English football in Europe.  Roy has worked in Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and Blackburn so he’s certainly seen life and has become the Global Citizen we see before us now. In the 1980’s Ian Rush spent a year in Turin but returned saying that it “was like living in a foreign country”.  How the game has moved forward.

In the 1970’s my hero was Johan Cruyff. He - and the rest of the Dutch team - spoke fluent English and German. It was like they were from a different planet.

Sometimes I think that we are at disadvantage in speaking English – or should I say American? The challenge of learning another language is less obvious to us perhaps. Most of Europe wants to speak English and have a real motivation to do so. They end up speaking English and their own language. Bi-lingual. What an advantage. Companies the world over want great communicators and speaking two languages certainly helps when you are trying to get a message across.

Hopefully the next few weeks will help people understand the geography of France, to appreciate the way of life and to learn a few French words. Keep an eye on the England manager. He’s showing the way.

Au revoir.

Phil Crompton

National publicity for TAG work

National publicity for TAG work in this week’s SecEd magazine, featuring case studies of the tapas, app design and landscaping projects...

3 things that are creating excitement across our trust

3 academies in the trust and each one living through an exciting story. It’s a good time to be the CEO of the Trent Academies Group – but then when isn’t it?

Let’s go to Farnborough first. Last night The Clifton Awards took place at the academy. Former England footballer Jermaine Jenas – one of Clifton’s own – and local MP Lilian Greenwood presented the prizes. It was a special night. Work such as this has led to Farnborough being shortlisted for the Department for Education’s Character Award. It’s a great honour and a tribute to the work that is taking place on a daily basis to raise aspiration and to ensure everyone is equipped with the traits required to lead happy and successful lives.

And then Arnold Hill where the new building is almost complete. Groups have been given tours and there is a real belief that it is a game changer. The upper school is long past its sell by date and the bulldozers are ready to move in. The new building is special. State of the art classrooms, a theatre and a sports hall are included. Arnold Hill pupils will have a very different experience from September.

And finally Rushcliffe where a consultation is underway with the community about plans for the new Arts/Languages block. The money has been made available by the government and it is hoped that planning permission will be granted. When combined with the recently opened Sixth Form centre the new block will transform not only the appearance of the school but also the learning environment for pupils. The second reason for excitement at Rushcliffe is the announcement from the TES that it has been shortlisted for the Secondary School of the Year Award. Only 6 on the list. Quite an honour.

At each academy teams of people are doing their very best to create the best possible life chances for young people. At the moment examination pressures dominate everyone’s lives. I really hope that there is time to reflect upon the great moments that each academy – and therefore the Trent Academies Group – is living through.

And outside the sun is shining.

Phil Crompton

14 days to go. The big Awards night of the year approaches.

So the Oscars, BAFTAS and PFA Footballer of the Year evenings have been and gone. The big one gets ever closer. On Thursday May 26th at The Farnborough Academy the first ever Clifton Awards night will be held. Trent Academies Group and the Aquinas Foundation are working together to recognise young talent in the Clifton area. Match of the Day pundit, and former England footballer, Jermaine Jenas and Lilian Greenwood MP will present prizes to children between the ages of 10 and 13. Hopefully the world now knows that the Trent Academies Group strapline is “Everyone will be given the chance to shine brightly” and the evening will reflect this with awards being related to the Arts, Sport and, of course, academic achievement. Each primary school in the area has been asked to nominate potential prize winners and a panel of judges will decide who the winners are. Actually, just being nominated means you are a winner. There will be fierce competition. Jonathan Ross couldn’t make it so the event will be compered by Mr. Ben Chaloner, esteemed headteacher at Farnborough.

This is the first of a whole series of events organised across the three academies in the group. Rushcliffe, Arnold Hill and Farnborough will each have their own awards evenings which involve prizes being awarded for a whole range of subjects as well as for making positive contributions to their academy and community. Anyone who has ever received an award – and most people haven’t – will tell you the memory of public recognition never goes away. I got a runners up medal when my primary school lost the 6 a side final on corners – corners ?!- in 1969. That’s about as far as it went. Looking forward to others enjoy the day.

Phil Crompton

Jez goes 1st. Who’s next ?

Earlier this week the mould was broken. An item appeared on the Blog that wasn’t written by me. And a fine piece it was too. Jez Maurice Smith explained a project based learning idea which will be launched in September 2017 at Arnold Hill. A year of planning lies ahead. It will be good when it arrives. I really hope that others will follow Jez’s lead and send through articles- short or long ones – which inform the 400 employees of the Trust, the thousands of parents and pupils as well as the outside world about life within the Trent Academies Group. There is so much happening. Please share your experiences and ideas.

And what of my week ? Since I last contributed to the Blog there has been a lot of sport going on. The Under 15 County Rugby Final took place last Thursday. In wet and windy conditions Rushcliffe edged out Farnborough in an exciting contest. The TAG derby. Both sides played well. There is real rugby talent across the academies. Last night I watched Rushcliffe lose 2-0 in the South Notts. Under 12 Boys’ final and tonight Rushcliffe are in the Under 15 Boys’ Final at the City Ground. I am setting off as soon as I’ve finished typing. I am also looking forward to watching the girls play in two high profile finals in the next couple of weeks.

The line that motivates all of us in the Trent Academies Group is that “everyone will be given the chance to shine brightly”. This applies to sport as much as academic study. I have seen so many examples of young people flourishing in education because of the chance they have been given to excel in sport. I see it happening all the time at Arnold Hill, Farnborough and Rushcliffe.

I’d better dash, I don’t want to miss the kick off.

Phil Crompton

Project based learning: Jez Maurice Smith from Arnold Hill Academy says ……

Heads up

“Remember to lift your head and take in all that’s going on in the classroom”.

A frequent piece of advice that I give teachers that I work with. It’s all too easy to get stuck head down moving from group to group with questions, guidance and intervention. In doing so the needed help and direction can so easily be missed. So just like on an arduous hike, don’t forget to take your eyes off your feet and take in the vista.

Last June I was challenged to design and deliver a Learn2Learn, cross-curricular course taught by a mixed team of subject staff. All I knew was that I didn’t want to simply deliver a set of worksheet driven, skills sessions. The learning had to have a reason... Keep your head up.

By chance I came across the charity Friends of Chernobyl’s children. They foster children from Belarus for a month long medical respite visit for 5 years. A month in the UK is life extending to them as they grow up in a country affected by a disaster 30 years ago in a country that wasn’t their own. Head down and looking at my feet I might of missed this. Suddenly the course was born. We had a reason and a purpose. Y7 now study their situation and their circumstance through all the different curricula. We’ve learnt about the radiation, debated the ethics of nuclear power. Explored historical sources, learnt some Russian and written poems about the disaster. Why? The answer is simple because this is the life of the 13 ten year olds that we are raising money for. The 13 that want to spend a day in our normal lessons in June. The children whose life is so very different to our own.

The teachers of Project Based Learning are not experts in all, they are role model learners. My teachers take risks, learn with their students and endlessly amaze with their creative delivery of the course. They love it.

Half full or half empty that my favourite and most challenging learning and teaching should come from a cataclysmic disaster. Whichever, my message remains simple. Keep your head up and find the learning opportunities around you.

Jez Maurice Smith