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2020 and the power of collaboration

We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realising that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way.

Prayer used by Archbishop Oscar Romero 

Robin Shakespeare, Director of Education

This week's blog post, the last before our Christmas break, is inspired by the lines above.

We have faced unique challenges this term. I wrote last week about the digital divide and how remote learning has thrown that into sharp relief. Mastering, delivering and engaging pupils in remote learning has been a steep learning curve. Balancing that with the need to maintain high quality face-to-face provision (aka 'school') and move forward with our academy and Trust priorities has felt all but impossible at times this term.

As we all look forward to a well-deserved break this holiday, here are a few observations from me on what you have achieved this term. I am in the fortunate position of seeing our efforts across the entire Trust, and this term it has been a genuine privilege. You - the teachers, support staff and leaders of the Midland Academies Trust - have not only risen to the challenges I outlined above but have done so with humour and good grace. And you have done so together. 

It has been difficult this term to bring you all together - even over Teams - and I know that many of you have felt the absence of our scheduled network meetings. But the roots of our collaborative and collective identity are deep and have proven their worth this term.

Our clear and well-resourced curriculum has stood us in good stead. Our adoption of a single online platform has made it possible to maintain contact with colleagues across the Trust. Our shared policies and practices mean that for every problem we have faced - and there have been many - we can bring four brains together to find a solution. 

Working in education often feels like a job never complete. And inevitably we tend to focus on those things we could have done better, or not at all. But take a moment to read the words of the prayer above, whatever your beliefs, and consider what you have achieved. The seeds planted, the foundations laid, the vital steps taken.

2020 has been a journey with many unexpected turns, but you have found a way. And by doing so you have lit a beacon for our pupils to follow. 

So, thank you for all that you have done and will do in 2021. Challenges undoubtedly lie ahead, but if we continue to face them together, I know we will succeed.