Monday, 18 January 2010

Investing in people

One of the local Secondary Schools employs eight additional non-teaching members of staff to support its pupils all of whom come from one of the most vulnerable areas in town. I was at a presentation last week when one of those involved in establishing Havelock Academy was talking about it. This level of staffing isn’t something which other Secondary Schools which are not Academies can afford to provide, but the importance Havelock attaches to it is an acknowledgment of how factors quite outside the life of any school impact on learning within it.

The eight are the pastoral Heads of Houses, as well as each contributing an additional role in the life of the school. David Ross, the businessman who is the Academy’s sponsor, valued the House system at the Public School he attended, but I guess that this isn’t as important in itself as the fact that each pupil has a member of staff who not only knows them well but has the time to follow up any issue for them.

I juggle all this in my mind with Neighbourhood Management, with the major investment of Government money in the Inspiring Communities project on this side of town, with the lack of funding for youth work provision evident at our recent meeting at the local Youth Centre, and with the inevitable future reductions in Government spending in the next few years.

Meanwhile, individual businessmen sponsoring local community provision is not new. When taking the picture of the almshouses which headed the previous post, we noticed that one of the houses had been paid for by the man whose legacy paid for the building of St Michael’s, Little Coates a few years later. David Ross’s start came form a fishing firm in Grimsby. Joseph Chapman’s fortune from a timber merchant business in Cleethorpes.

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