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New Governance Structure For Navigate Academies

Navigate Academies Trust is to introduce a new framework for the governance of its primary academies, to be chaired by former Ofsted regional director, Louise Soden.

Two Local Improvement Boards (LIBs) have been set up covering Navigate’s Barnsley and Tees Valley Hubs, following research and recommendations by the Department for Education, the CBI and leading education thinkers.

The boards bring together a number of highly-qualified professionals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines with proven analytical and management skills intended to support, challenge and scrutinise the way academies are run, in order to improve outcomes across a range of performance areas.

Members were chosen, says Navigate’s deputy chief executive, Rachel Singer, for their commitment to furthering education and their “drive and creativity to inspire even greater things.”

Rachel said: “We have completed an exhaustive recruitment campaign for members of the LIBs and feel we have a team of exceptional members to work with, under the Chair’s direction, to deliver improvements for the benefit of children across Barnsley and the Tees Valley.”

“We were delighted with the phenomenal response, with 70 applicants, nearly half of which we invited for interview. The process enabled us to identify and appoint the very best and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of new a governance model which we believe can achieve great things through a new and creative way of working.”

“We see this as the next logical step in the evolution of professional governance.” – Rachel Singer, Navigate deputy chief executive.

Unlike traditional governors, LIB membership is a paid role “We see this as the next logical step in the evolution of professional governance. We believe the LIB is the right mechanism to take the best of what we’ve already got and apply it across all our academies in order to consistently deliver outstanding education.”

Navigate Academies Trust believes a professional team, chosen for their respective skills, knowledge and experience is also more likely to provide effective challenge and support to academy leaders than a potentially less effective volunteer group.

“This move toward the LIB model is a reflection of national inspection findings and what experience tells us that academies and schools fail when governance is weak. Providing support to senior leaders is a key part of the LIB member’s role, as is being able to support and challenge improved performance from all members of the academy community,” said Rachel. “Bringing a new approach to academy governance is long overdue and we now have the chance to use the freedoms and flexibilities afforded to academies in a new and highly innovative way.”

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Navigate Video Project

Amidst the madness of Christmas, we managed to get this great project filmed, edited and online in time for the New Year…

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The Fight Against Fidgeting

Behaviour in the classroom has once again hit the headlines and regardless of your political leanings, it seems the issue is destined to forever be a highly emotive one.

For now, headteachers are in the firing line for, some say, allowing a ‘culture of casual acceptance’ in regards to bad behaviour, but just a few months ago it was energy drinks that were stirring up parental anger.

Allegedly inducing hyperactivity followed by debilitating crashes (the science behind the ‘sugar rush’ is at best a little sketchy), you’d be forgiven for thinking most breakfasts now only came in a can carrying a bolt of lightning.

Skip back even further and it was the parents themselves that the media spotlight was shining on, with union leaders urging parents to take a more active role ‘beyond the school gates’.

To be fair, the concerns may be legitimate and teachers everywhere know the potential impact of poor behaviour, but this is not a new phenomenon, nor a uniquely British one. If any evidence to this was needed, let’s not forget that Sue Cowley’s “Getting the Buggers to Behave” has sold over 120,000 copies and has been translated into several languages.

‘Blurring the lines between friendliness and familiarity’ is something that Ofsted’s Sir Michael Wilshaw is clearly against, whilst some might think the definitions are somewhat subjective. At this point it may also be worth pointing out that this report concerned ‘low level disruptive behaviour’ such as phone use, humming, fidgeting, making silly comments, swinging on chairs and passing notes. It was also based in part on comments volunteered by teachers, which it is probably safe to say they did not expect to be used out of context by tabloid journalists.

In any case, acceptance of changing times is not acceptance of developing poor habits, and just a few weeks after examination results which may not have been the best ever but were superb by anyone’s standards, the attempts to portray a classroom crisis serves no one, except perhaps to say to NQTs, ‘you may as well get used to this’.

So what can you do?
Setting boundaries, using silence, raising expectation and being clear about what you want, are all proven ways to improve attention and encourage teacher control. Not panicking, not getting discouraged and sticking to what works is definitely a start. Not reading the paper might also help! For one thing, waiting for silence is not something we should expect from the media.