Our 2014 ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspection was a joyous experience (not something I’d ever imagined myself writing, but see my euphoric reflexion of the week here). Ofsted’s Report was published towards the end of July, by which time, exhausted and a little hysterical, #teamnorthern were happy to slow down for the summer and think it all through.
What we most learned from that experience was that we could celebrate who we are. Our approach to education is emphatically anti-‘ sausage factory’ and during that week of Inspection we’d been present as ourselves, Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ providing our anthem. We proved that it was possible to survive and even thrive in further education by providing a genuinely transformational, student-centred service.
Our new mission is to communicate this message to the rest of FE, particularly those education providers who are caught up in the trap of trying to please the “skills system”. At the same time, we wanted to recapture the genuinely democratic team spirit of those Ofsted days. And so CPD@NC was born, a programme of workshops generated and delivered by staff across the college in a model of distributed leadership that sees everyone getting stuck in. Even more delightful, the introductory workshop days* have been subsidised by the Education and Training Foundation’s ELMAG Programme, so they are currently and totally free.
We know we are going to learn so much about ourselves and about the sector through this new adventure and we plan to capture the experience here, as it unfolds. In return, we hope to bring hope – that it’s possible to do something radically different, and still succeed. We hope you’ll join us.
Be bold, be brave, be Northern.
*next one 24th March 2015