What are your hopes of the next educational year?

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For this month’s BIG ASK, you told us what your hopes are for the next educational year beginning in September

Anne Swift, school business manager

My hopes for the next educational year are that:

1) we can go back to physical meetings again;

2) our new Year 7s experience the school as they are meant to;

3) that I manage to find a rather lovely new academic year diary between now and then!

Claire Brand, business manager

I have several hopes for the next school year as we start a move towards our normal ways of working.  I hope that:

  • the vaccination programme will roll out to teenagers once the adult workforce is vaccinated to minimise the disruption to education, preventing it from going any further than it has already.  As the parent of a year 11 student, I know that he would have achieved better outcomes had he had the full two-year course of study;
  • any lingering or new advices are not thrust upon schools without adequate lead time;
  • the wider enrichment opportunities offered to students are able to fully resume; for example, one of the effective strategies that was halted was cooking.   As a PRU, education outside of the classroom is important for social and emotional development; not being able to use minibuses, run the normal programme of activities, or access provision such as indoor climbing has been difficult for staff and students alike;
  • the LA may provide the budget statement, and any changes to commissioning agreements, in a timely manner in order to facilitate effective budget preparation;
  • the financial burden of the country due to COVID will not have a further detrimental effect on school budgets – although I fear that this has already started…..

Stacey Bull, head of operations

My hopes for the next academic year are a sense of normality, and a return to the focus on educating young people, rather than keeping them within restrictions. During the last year, I have spent more time reading health guidance and writing (and re-writing!) risk assessments than I have ever spent in my 13 years as a School Business Manager. When someone mentions a room change I tremble with fear about the cleaning requirements and the potential bubble-contamination! As an academy, we have managed incredibly well and our building with separate chapter wings has been a godsend for keeping students apart. I know many other schools have had difficulties with this. Watching the children remain in their own year group, without the natural interaction with peers of different ages, has been hard. No Year 7 camp, no learning outside the classroom – no prom! They have missed out on so many enriching life moments that they won’t get back. I hope that next year we can provide them with a full extra-curricular programme that stretches all of their abilities, and enhances their cultural capital. 

Conny Brandt, school business manager

My main hope for the coming year is that we will be able to get together as one school community again, rather than having to stay in separate bubbles!  I would love to see our pupils be able to move around the site again, staff from all classes and teams being able to chat together in the staffroom, and whole-school events bringing our community together.

I am also looking forward to some of the positive changes brought about by COVID staying, such as having some meetings remotely – which saves so much time, as well as travel expenses.  Having said that, I am also really looking forward to being able to attend events and conferences in person again, and I hope to meet some of the wonderful online SBL community in person!

For myself, I hope to finish my CMDA apprenticeship towards the end of the coming year; it has been quite a challenge to fit this in alongside everything else happening, but it has been rewarding to be able to put my learning into practice at school and I am particularly looking forward to doing my work-based project next year. Hopefully, the COVID situation will settle down, and we can return to focusing on our day jobs – and make time for things such as studying!

Clare Skinner, business manager

After 18 months of restricted focus and all-consuming COVID-related priorities, I am hoping to be able to embed COVID into everyday practices so that it is just a consideration in all I and my colleagues do.

I want COVID to stop being a reason not to do something and, instead, to be able to do what our school needs.

I want to generate income for my school through grant applications and fundraising activities to meet the wider needs of my students, and provide things that sit outside the remit of school funding. I want to be able to plan my financial, premises and HR strategies accurately (and confidently) three years ahead to support this.

I want to work with the students to achieve this. My environment group was just getting up-and-running before COVID; it needs to come back so that energy expenditure can be reduced and redirected into learning resources or more learning assistants.

Mostly, I want staff and students to see me smile at them in the corridor when I go past them, and be reassured that I am here for them, whatever the issue they need resolving is!

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