A September to remember
We are one month in, and it has been a lively and varied four weeks.
We had our official launch with the Back to School Party on 12th September. Hosted by Stratford Circus, we were joined by friends, colleagues and local partners in Newham, including Newham Bookshop, Museum of London and the Library Service. Whilst we are starting to work across the country, our home is still in Newham, and the local network is vital to us. It was great to celebrate with them.
We launched Writes of Passage, our innovative writing network for Year 5 pupils, on 19th September. Again, hosted by our friends at Stratford Circus, we have loved working with Elmhurst, Nelson, Gallions, St Helens, Dersingham, Keir Hardie and Southern Road primary schools. It was remarkable to see the spirited and whole-hearted way in which teachers, as well as pupils, embraced the opportunities to write with expression, authenticity and freedom. We cannot wait to continue this work over the year.
We have had lots of exciting meetings to set up new initiatives and partnerships. Jo and I met with Eko Trust last week, and will be looking forward to sharing more about our ambitious new KUDOS project soon, developing student leadership and advocacy. Adisa and I loved meeting the team at Edinburgh Primary in Walthamstow; we are going to be leading a poetry revolution there this year! I am writing from up north at the minute, having had an incredibly wide-ranging meeting with Leeds Beckett University and the Story Makers Company about ways in which our projects and pedagogies can happen in Yorkshire.
And it has been great to get stuck into some CPD and staff development - as well as Writes of Passage, Jonny has been leading training with Keir Hardie and St Luke's Primary schools, developing curriculum leadership with Byron Court Primary in Wembley, and contributing to the English provision of the Essex and Thames SCITT. Jo is off to Liverpool on Tuesday leading training, and has been continuing her work with the team at the University of Cambridge Primary School.
October offers lots of exciting opportunities. I'm looking forward to working with Zayouna Primary in Derby for National Poetry Day, and following up with the Transform Trust Day of Possibilities. October will see the start of the Mastering Teaching Programme that I'm co-facilitating with a senior leader at Elmhurst Primary: there are still spaces for this, actually, if you were looking to support new and developing teachers at an affordable cost.
And as much as anything, it will be great to regroup, reflect and consider how the rest of the year ought to pan out.
I am immensely grateful to Jo and Adisa, and I love working closely with them both. I will also single out Ross Young and Phil Ferguson, with whom I've enjoyed daily chitchats as I adapt to the OtherWise lifestyle. Finally, I will single out my two previous schools, Park Primary School and Elmhurst Primary School: both have always been supportive, and have continued to be so even after I've left. I am relieved and pleased to be one of few people who has not only been able to leave a place of work positively and having had good experiences, but to also be able to continue working alongside them in various ways. I've been very fortunate to work with some great people.