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Message from Rachael Warwick, CEO & Executive Headteacher of Ridgeway Education Trust, Easter 2021

Posted on: 31/03/2021

We can’t always build the future for our young people but we can build our young people for the future. FD Roosevelt

As we emerge from a year like no other, it’s joyful to hear our schools full of the chatter and laughter of children and young people. More than anything, visiting all three schools in the Trust this week, I have been reminded that schools are optimistic places. Why? Because they are full of young people and adults who love working with them. This very simple and powerful truth means that all things are possible. And yet, I think there are lessons to learn from the last year to ensure that we work alongside our young people to prioritise the things that are most important to them, and to our future society:
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Climate sustainability
  • The role of technology in learning
There is much more for us to do in all of these areas to create the agency for our young people to build the better future that we wish for all of them and their children. Tokenism is insufficient when there is such energy and passion to harness for the greater good. There is much work to do!
I am certain that the strong values of our schools and the distinctive focus on leadership across Ridgeway Education Trust are what will prepare our young people to build a better future for all of us. These are the constants that have remained whilst everything else around us has changed.
It is the greatest delight of my job to support the ever-growing collaboration between our schools for the benefit of all our children and young people. The particular successes that I would point to so far this year (despite a global pandemic) include:
  • the Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School (SCCEPS) mastery maths project in collaboration with Didcot Girls’ School
  • the depth and breadth of the St Birinus curriculum supported by Chinese, Drama, Music, Computer Science and Dance teaching from Didcot Girls’ School
  • the quality of teaching, leadership and enrichment in the Didcot Sixth Form which moves from strength to strength
  • the new facilities available for students, whether this be the refurbished DSF Farmington Library, the Confucius Classroom at Didcot Girls’, the outdoor Maths area for Year 1 at SCCEPS, the media suite at St Birinus, or the many laptops and Chromebooks now available for students at all the schools
We would like to spend the very kind and generous donations from DGS and SBS families saved over the last two years on something that will benefit as many students as possible. So, we plan to purchase a new RET minibus for September. Thank you!
I rely heavily on excellent people to lead the support functions which are so important to ensure the smooth running of the Trust. After six years of exceptional leadership, Chris Powell retires this Easter as the RET Director of Finance & Services. He is someone whose tireless and excellent work has secured the financial foundations of the Trust and ensured that back office services run like clockwork. He will be greatly missed.
We welcome the following key appointments to the Trust:
Vicki Ruston - RET Director of Finance & Services
Tom Mather - RET IT Services Lead
Chris Gillham - RET Facilities Manager
Caroline Ball - RET Governance Officer
These are people you may not meet but who are making a significant difference to the quality of education that your children enjoy, day in and day out.
The whole DGS community has been devastated this term by the tragic loss of a student in Year 7. I am so grateful for the way the school has come together to support one another and to offer their sympathy and support to the family at such a painful time. We will continue to find ways to celebrate her life together.
Finally, a sincere ‘thank you’ from me to you, the parents and families who have made remote learning work so successfully over the last year. Massive appreciation to the Trust Headteachers and their teams who have demonstrated such agile leadership as we have pivoted from remote to in-school learning, from setting up covid testing centres to establishing our own assessment procedures for Year 11 and Year 13 students this summer. RET Trustees and governors have provided invaluable support and challenge. It’s been a huge team effort and one of which we should all be extraordinarily proud:
No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.’
                                                                                                                    H.E Luccock
With best wishes for a well-deserved and restful Easter break
Rachael Warwick
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