Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Tackling low aspirations

Low aspiration is one of the biggest local barriers to educational progression. It is something I keep going on about, and it is something about which I’ve accumulated a lot of anecdotal illustrations from both my own work (in the parish and through the local FE and HE College) and from my wife’s work in a Primary School in a different deprived area of town.

Now I’ve suddenly found myself with the role of ‘community champion’ and Chair of a Partnership Board to see whether sustained intervention can make any difference in the area served by Whitgift Comprehensive in the parish by spending a very substantial grant as one of only fifteen pilots for a Government ‘Inspiring Communities’ programme (following a bid mentioned in passing in this blog on 15th and 23rd May.)

What possessed the Department for Communities and Local Government to announce this bang in the middle of the school holiday we do not know. We’d been told to expect a decision next month but an e-mail soon after my return from holiday alerted me to a Press Release about to go out. I had to scrabble around to make sure the Chair of Governors knew before reading about me talking about it in the local paper, which is where the Extended Schools coordinator among others learnt about it.

The Headteacher was abroad on holiday, and he may not know about it himself yet. It will be good picking things up with him as soon as he is back following up any material the Department may issue about the first steps to take to develop our outline plan with other partners. At the moment there isn’t any paperwork but instead a witty official from there is already trying to call an all day meeting in London at less than a weeks notice.

Meanwhile, the mosaic comes from the Roman villa at Lullingstone (pictures from whose church I posted on 3rd August). Although the abduction of Europa is a pagan subject, the villa is also home of one of the best evidenced Roman Christian congregations.

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