Whatever your connection with our schools, the college or the Trust, thank you for all your endeavours, your commitment and your willingness to go that extra mile over the last week or so. It has been a difficult couple of weeks since our return from the Christmas break. Many of you have stepped forward and offered support, where support was needed. For that I thank you. We can only take on and face those challenges by standing together, as one, and by having a collective willingness to do what is needed, when it is needed, despite how we might, as an individual, be feeling at any given time. It seems that we are over the hump of the omicron variant. I think it’s important that as a nation we don’t become complacent however it is clear that we can have, at least for the foreseeable future, a belief that things may look a little brighter.
Like many of you, no doubt, over the past few weeks I have been thinking a great deal about trust, truth and personal integrity. Without making any direct political comments about all of the shenanigans in Westminster, it seems to me that many of us will have been thinking about the personal behaviours of our leaders in times of crisis. I am not here to say that individuals have done right or wrong but, when listening to the reporting of the behaviours in and around Westminster and Downing Street, whether they are true or not, it has prompted thinking about what it means to be a leader in the 21st-century.
Each and every day, whatever role the adults hold in our schools, the college or the Trust, we must and do lead. We lead with and for the children and young people. We lead with and for our colleagues and other adults. Leadership isn’t about the title or the paygrade it’s about the behaviours. And if that’s the case it is about integrity and challenge and support and a willingness to walk the hard yards, in the shoes of others.
It’s no accident that our multi-academy trust is called Inspire Trust. Obviously, it comes out of the ‘Inspired to Achieve’ strapline from Oakwood High School but it says much more than that. We endeavour to work in such a way that all of our community can feel confident that their leaders are honest, open and trustworthy. They make the sacrifices that others make. They walk the hard yards, day in and day out. And they behave in a manner which would be seen as, not only acceptable, but, hopefully, exemplary.
Those behaviours, whoever you are and whatever role you’ve got within our organisations, is a leadership role; be that as an adult, or as a pupil or a student. You are required to behave and act with integrity and each and every day your work, your language, your attitudes and your integrity is scrutinised closely. There are no hiding places in our schools and the college. You are on show all of the time and at every turn. You work within a Trust that wishes to inspire trust; trusting each other and trusting the leaders, the teachers, the support staff and the pupils and students.
You can go into your weekend with a very clear conscience. The overwhelming majority of our community have worked extremely hard for a sustained period of time and despite the challenges we face they retain their integrity, their openness and our trust and respect.
‘The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.’ Stephen King