Saturday, 19 May 2012

Everything Happening At Once

It’s been almost two weeks since I last had time to write and so much has happened (which is why I’ve not had time to write!), so this will be a highlight post, touching on some of the exciting things that have happened recently.

Last week, with the closing date looming for the teaching posts, started out hectic as I received loads of calls and emails asking for more information about the school. As I am determined that Sandymoor School will be known as a friendly, approachable school, I offered to meet up with anyone who asked for further information, so I spent a bit of time sitting in coffee shops around doing what is now my favourite activity; talking about how amazing Sandymoor School is!

In the end, we had well in excess of 100 applications for the teaching posts advertised and have selected a very strong field for the interviews; I am convinced that I will have a fantastic team of inspirational educators with me to provide the Sandymoor Experience. I look forward to introducing them to everyone, through this blog, the website and face to face meetings as soon as we’ve finished appointing.

The recruitment process has been designed to be thorough and allow us to explore what each individual can bring to the team. I would like to publicly thank the primary schools who have volunteered to help out by providing classrooms and children for us; as part of the process, I was determined that I wanted to watch each candidate interact with students and this is going to be an important part of their selection. They will also have to undergo interviews and give presentations, so it will be a tiring day for them.

A highlight of last week, though, was a visit down to London; I had been invited to talk at a national conference called “Building Future Education”. We were VIP guests, which was exciting – we had access to a quiet area with free coffee …. And had the opportunity to talk with a number of major building contractors who are very keen to engage with us over the new build.

Out of this came a contact with the potential to be on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, as part of a feature about free schools; two of the project group were interviewed for the best part of an evening by one of their reporters and it’s scheduled to go out on air on the 29th May – listen out for it, if you can!

From there, while down, we popped into the Houses of Parliament, to meet up with the local MP, Graham Evans, to catch up and give some feedback as to the progress; it’s really good to have his support.

We’ve also been having further enquiries about places for students in September, which is fantastic, and I’ve also been spending time visiting parents and young people in their homes, talking about the Sandymoor curriculum. It’s been so good to meet with people and talk through their concerns, showing them that Sandymoor will provide outstanding education from the very start. One thing we’ve been discussing hard has come about as a result of these requests, and resulted in me driving over to DfE regional offices in Sheffield to discuss and agree. . . 

We are, as a result of parental requests, opening up a year 8 group from this September as well… If you have a child currently in year 7 who isn’t that happy with where they are (or know someone who has), I’m happy to talk about how it will work.

All in all, a hectic time, but so enjoyable!

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