Relationships with groups
A keen and important part of the work we do at Alps, is to develop and then maintain a meaningful dialogue with a range of educational groups and partnerships, as well as educational thought leaders across all of the countries we work in.
I am constantly impressed by the commitment of all my colleagues in their varied roles. A good example is the work that Local Authority school improvement teams do across England and Wales. Although many of them have been pared to the bone over the past few years, and operate in different ways and with fewer colleagues than they have previously, they remain focussed, committed and keen to make a difference. Despite the cuts they have seen to their service, they are still hugely ambitious for their schools and use their skills with imagination and purpose.
Alps still has over 60 group contracts many of these with Local Authorities or their Head Teachers groups, despite the funding ‘efficiencies’ and on at least two occasions every year we meet with colleagues to listen and to advise. We meet colleagues across the length and breadth of the country – from Ceredigion to Essex, and from Cumbria to Dorset – and have a meaningful dialogue with Alps at the core of the discussion.
The nine Regional Schools Commissioners in England and the four Regional Improvement Services in Wales also have huge influence in their countries and are a force for positive change and improvement. The work they do often falls under the radar yet without it the work of schools would suffer and the impact upon young people would be significant. Our annual meetings with these bodies is informative and our analysis evidences the difference they make.
It is appreciated by us that despite the financial restrictions they face, many groups see the value on bringing schools together using Alps as the common language for school and college improvement.
The Partnerships work we do has a wider remit. Our ambition is to listen to educational leaders and leading educational organisations and be at the forefront of new initiatives, anticipating change rather than just reacting to it (easier said than done within the world of education, we know!). Within the last twelve months we meet up with colleagues from the Department for Education, with Welsh Government, and government representatives within the Middle East to discuss change and challenge. We meet annually with representatives from the FE and SFC associations, with CEOs of Multi Academy Trusts, and with Headteacher groups in England and Wales.
The input of these experts into our thought processes around (for example) product development has proven to be invaluable for many years, as has been the input from individual school leaders who each year give up their time to kindly take part in our focus groups and reviews.
The icing on the educational cake might be a ‘thinner’ topping than it used to be, but it is created and applied with just as much care and commitment as it ever was.
Partnership Director – Alps
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