It was a real pleasure to see three Archway students opening the annual conference of East Midlands and Humber RSC. Adil, Sadiya and Ollie all spoke about their different journeys through education. Each of them has a powerful story to tell in which their experiences at school alongside their own remarkable efforts have put them in a position to gain access to Higher Education and a glittering future full of opportunity. Adil spoke of exclusion and being forced to move schools after having fallen in with the wrong crowd. Sadiya spoke about struggling to overcome the barriers of English as a second language, whilst Ollie spoke about his own painful journey of self-discovery, transitioning and abuse. As educators it can be all too easy to lose sight of individuals, instead focusing on data, averages and benchmarks. Of course all of this is vital in order to support school improvement, however it’s equally critical to keep a sense of the individual and how the decisions we take impact on the lives of those we strive to serve.
Two of the brilliant staff at Archway also led workshops for the regional CEOs during the conference. Lee Miveld, our Inclusion Lead and Cath Rowell, Principal at Bluecoat Aspley, led three sessions on making inclusion meaningful in the urban context as well as sharing insight on how we remove permanent exclusions from Archway academies. It was a privilege to help on the day and such a joy to see our talented students shine.