As the Christmas holidays are quickly approaching, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the fantastic support you have shown us yet again this year, to congratulate you for continuing to make education in the region thrive and to bring you up to speed with what’s to come from SCHOOLS NorthEast in the New Year.
Undoubtedly though, we started it on a high note. Our biggest annual event, the SCHOOLS NorthEast Summit, brought the Secretary of State for Education under the same roof for the first time with over 500 school leaders from across the entire region. It was indeed an all-star cast of speakers and we also heard from Sir David Carter, the National Schools Commissioner, as well as from Roger Pope, Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), Masha Gordon, record-holding mountaineer and pupil resilience advocate, Dr Rebecca Allen , Director of Education Datalab, and many more.
The Summit also saw the launch of our three-year strategy “Shaping Our Future” which focuses our commitment to be a driver of change for education in the region. It also outlines yet again our core values as the representative body for all schools in the North East – that we are there for all of you regardless of size, type, faith, structure or geographical location. The paper sets our strategic goals for 2017-2020, with a strong focus on school recruitment, governance, evidence-based excellence, literacy & numeracy and pupils’ mental health.
Many of you will know that last year we announced plans to launch the country’s first school-led mental health commission, Healthy MindEd. Another big announcement made at the Summit was the appointment of Prof. Dame Sue Bailey as Chair of the Commission. Dame Sue is the pre-eminent voice in children’s mental health in the country and will be a major asset in supporting schools to deal with the escalating issues affecting children in the region. Dame Sue spoke of how privileged she felt to be asked to chair the Commission in a statement. We definitely echo the sentiment and are excited to share the latest developments with you in due course.
But the Summit wasn’t the only successful event this past term. We also held a Literacy Conference in partnership with Ofsted, which focused on raising standards in KS3 English, and were delighted to offer our support to our region’s SEN Teaching School Alliances for their highly noteworthy SEND Conference.
SCHOOLS NorthEast has continued to be the representative voice for education in our region. We have just submitted a response to the Government’s consultation on grammar schools, as well as one regarding primary assessment and another on Early Years funding and educators. Our research into what would make a fair funding formula and our input in a consultation around compulsory Ebacc subjects were cited in Parliament by a member of the Education Select Committee. SCHOOLS NorthEast is unique nationally in being the only regional body of schools and all of our responses are shaped through collaborating with you and your colleagues, in order to provide the most accurate representation of your concerns.
We have also represented the region’s schools at the following:
- All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Leadership & Governance
- North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) Strategic Economic Plan refresh
- North East Literacy Forum
- National Citizen Service Partnership Advisory Group
- EEF Advisory Board for the North East Literacy campaign
So what does 2017 hold?
There are many exciting plans taking shape for 2017. We are gearing up to launch an evidence-based education project which will support the profession to lead a long-term shift in regional educational culture to one led by informed debate, research, collaboration and excellence.
Healthy MindED will hold its first formal sitting in the New Year and Jobs in Schools | North East will enter its second year of operations. To support this during the key post-Christmas recruitment period, we are launching a new digital campaign which will bring significantly more exposure to the portal. This is a huge step forward in achieving our overarching aim of marketing the North East as a teaching destination. We are also planning a variety of conferences and events, with some of our long-standing ones taking place very soon – FutureReady Careers Conference on the 9th of February and the Patron’s Dinner on the 16th of March.
Every year these end of term notes grow longer and longer. The reason for that is our desire to do as much as possible, to help all schools in the region in any way, and to be involved in every initiative that could see education in the North East reach its highest potential.
We couldn’t have done all of the above without you and your constant support, and for that I would like to thank you and to express my enthusiasm at continuing to work with you in the New Year.
From everyone here at SCHOOLS NorthEast, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a relaxing holiday!