CEO Blog

Charity Angel. – 6 December 2021

Last week our community was deeply saddened by the loss of a wonderful local lady who passed away following a battle with cancer. Mandy Taylor was a fabulous woman, full of life, energy, kindness and love. Previously, she had survived breast cancer twice, but then sadly the cancer returned and she passed away last week.

Mandy was known to our family of schools through our More In Common community work. She helped with charity fundraisers; events such as the Run for Jo; the Jo Cox Way Cycle; Charity Angels and so much more. She dedicated much of her life to helping others and was involved with Huddersfield Town Football Club, the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and many more fantastic projects and initiatives to help improve the lives of others. She was also an ambassador of The Piece Hall in Halifax.

When Mandy was informed that her cancer was terminal she also set up #bemoreMandy encouraging others to live life to the full. Mandy had the power to light up a room, and she had such drive and tenacity. She will be deeply missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her loved ones and everyone whose heart she touched. Mandy encouraged everyone to be the very best version of themselves each and every day.

The power of reading. – 29 November 2021

This week our Trust family of schools are celebrating the power of reading. Whether it is reading a bedtime story every night; older children reading to younger siblings; reading the newspaper; reading a great novel or your favourite magazine-all reading is good for the mind. Reading can help to relax and unwind, and can take you to far away places you have always wanted to visit. During these strange times of a global pandemic some escapism, or the chance to travel the world via a great book can never be underestimated. For young people reading is a crucial life skill, and an interdisciplinary skill which benefits every single subject area, and benefits your child’s progress overall. Reading for just 10 minutes each day has a hugely positive impact on children’s literacy levels, even turning subtitles on when your child is watching their favorite cartoon or movie really helps to encourage them to read. Never miss a reading opportunity. Those who say they don’t like reading, simply haven’t discovered the best books for them yet. Field Lane School has a wonderful new forest themed library, and Upper Batley High School has a community library where anyone is welcome to borrow books for free.

Award Winning Schools. – 22 November 2021

Several of our schools have already achieved Eco Schools Awards for their superb work around environmental issues. Our schools can each take a slightly different focus, all relevant to their individual needs and development ideas. Reducing waste, recycling and reusing items are key themes, as is travel to and from school. Our school Headteachers met with our local MP, Kim Leadbeater recently to discuss that very matter, amongst other key local developments. Our School Councils work hard on key issues they would like to lead on in their schools, and our young people are full of innovative and creative ideas for the future. Developing our young people as leaders, and developing their resilience and problem solving skills are key aspects of our work across our family of schools. These interdisciplinary skills are key to young people being successful adults, and having successful future careers in their chosen field of work. The young people in our schools today are tomorrow’s leaders.

Lest we forget. – 15 November 2021

Last Thursday on Armistice day, young people from across our family of schools, and from across our whole community came together to remember those who had lost loved ones, and those who have suffered through conflicts across the world. A two minute silence was held at 11am for quiet contemplation. Batley Memorial Gardens was filled with people from across our community, and the young people from across our family of Trust schools who represented our community incredibly well with the readings they gave. They were confident, articulate and respectful, and superb ambassadors for our school communities. The young people in our schools today, are the leaders of tomorrow. This community event brought people together from across Batley and Birstall, as everyone paid their respects to those who have suffered loss, injury or grief for us to have the freedoms we have in our society today. Community makes us.

Great change happens when ordinary people do extraordinary things. – 8 November 2021

With COP26 in full swing the young people in our family of schools have been discussing ways they can address climate change issues in both their home life and their school life. Our School Councils are busy developing their plans to further support protecting our planet for the next generation and beyond. Our young people have been looking at a variety of different actions they could take including recycling, reducing waste (paper, plastic, food etc), school transport and much more. Some of our young people have volunteered to work with Kirklees Council and their climate change group, and we are proud of our schools and all our young people for the proactive approach they are taking around this key issue. Our young people have shown great leadership here. Our Trust leaders are also looking at this matter. Our Headteachers and our Trustees are evaluating our energy efficiencies across our family of schools. Great things can happen when people work together. Our schools lie at the heart of our community and we all want to do whatever we can to build a better future for our children, our families and our community. As a great man once said “The time is always right, to do what is right”.

The climate has no borders. – 1 November 2021

We hope you have all enjoyed the half term break.Our family of schools finished last half term with Activate Week. A week where everyone tried to be more active, for both our own emotional wellbeing (healthy body, healthy mind) and for our planet. Some young people walked or cycled to school, rather than travel by car, and many families tried ‘park and stride’ where although they still travelled to school by car, or bus, they were dropped a little further away from the school gates and walked a little more than they usually would. Every little helps. This week some of the world leaders are meeting in Glasgow for COP26 to discuss climate change and what we can all do to help reduce pollution. In our local area reducing congestion on our roads is key, so reducing the number of cars on the road at school morning drop off and afternoon pick up times really does help to make a positive difference overall. The actions of each and every individual, make a big difference overall in protecting our planet for the next generations to enjoy as we have.

Community Makes Us and the unity in community is key. – 18 October 2021

This week our community is coming together for Activate Week. Getting active is a great way to make you feel positive and upbeat, and keep you fit and healthy. Our family of schools are taking part in this great initiative so that we can all keep fit and healthy, and to try to reduce traffic congestion in our community, and subsequently reduce pollution if we can reduce the amount of cars/traffic on our streets. There are lots of different activities being undertaken across our family of schools ranging from croquet to cricket, football to fitness classes, basketball to badminton and much more besides. There really is something for everyone. Many of our young people will also receive a special skills passport to track their success. As the saying goes “healthy body, healthy mind”. A bit of physical exercise really helps to get the oxygen flowing and release the feel good endorphins. So let’s all do what we can to get active this week, and maybe phone a friend to meet up for a walk, or park that little bit further away at the supermarket. Exercising with a friend is a great way to keep fit and keep in touch with others. Across our whole community the values of kindness and friendship can never be underestimated.

Celebrating our culture, diversity and heritage in Batley. – 11 October 2021

On Friday young people from one of our secondary schools were delighted to showcase their art work and creative talents at Batley Train Station, when they unveiled their creations to our MP, Kim Leadbeater, and local councillors and other dignitaries. A group of talented year 8 artists from Upper Batley High School worked closely with local artist Emmeline North on her installation work “The Joy Project”. 26 individual and bespoke door and window panels have been designed to represent the history, heritage and culture of our wonderful town. This artwork represents the start of a new town trail where further artworks and murals will be unveiled over the coming months for everyone to enjoy. There will also be an app everyone can download to tell the story of Batley’s history via these vibrant artworks.

Our family of schools are proud of our artistic talents, which are celebrated and developed via our successful annual Changes Project, and through creative collaborations such as this one with local artists and Creative Scene. At Batley Multi Academy Trust we talk about Batley being famous for beds, biscuits and brilliant education. This superb work showcased across our community is evidence of that talent and success. As scientist Albert Einstein once famously said “Creativity is intelligence having fun”.

Be the very best version of yourself. – 4 October 2021

Across our family of schools our staff teams work hard to ensure all our young people receive a great education, and high quality pastoral care, guidance and support. Our mantra to our staff teams is always be the very best version of yourself, and we ask our young people to do the same. Since we returned to school this term we have held lots of staff training events, our Parents’ Forum groups have recommenced, and our community is working hard together to deliver a great education for all. We hope you enjoyed reading the first edition of our new Trust newsletter “The Batley Buzz” which showcases the great work being undertaken in each of our schools. There will be a new edition every month.

This Sunday is World Mental Health Awareness day and at Batley Multi Academy Trust we take our young people’s emotional health and wellbeing seriously on that day, and every day. Our family of schools offer a wide range of clubs, activities and curriculum enrichment opportunities. These have never been more important than now for our children to grow and to develop skills such as resilience, problem-solving, social interaction and leadership. There really is something for everyone.

The Batley Buzz. – 27 September 2021

The Batley Buzz is the title of the Trust’s brand new newsletter which will be released this week. The purpose of our newsletter is to showcase the brilliant work undertaken in our family of schools, and highlight all that Batley Multi Academy Trust has to offer to our young people and our local community. Our newsletter features updates from each of our 5 schools, key safeguarding links for families, information about our outstanding careers education and much more besides. Our Trust offers a wide range of engaging curriculum enrichment activities, and we see our Trust, and our family of schools as being at the heart of our local community. Community Makes Us and the unity in community is key. Our secondary schools have been holding all of their Open Evening and Open Day events for year 5 & 6 students, and the Batley Buzz has been evident across our whole family of schools. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to come and look around our superb secondary schools.

Welcome Back. – September 2021

The Batley Buzz has been evident in all our schools as we welcomed our young people back into our family of schools this term for the start of the new academic year. Our family of schools is here to ensure that all our children receive a first-class education coupled with the very best care, guidance and support. We work hard across our Trust to raise the aspirations of our young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. No child left behind. Ever.

Our five schools all have their own identity, and our school leaders all share the philosophy of effective collaboration where we celebrate the differences of each school through strong collaboration, to inspire everyone within our learning community to be the very best version of themselves everyday. A strong ethos of mutual respect underpins our Trust, and our five schools lie at the heart of their community. We believe that Community Makes Us, and the unity in community is key.

As the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Trust, it is both a privilege and an honour to lead Batley Multi Academy Trust (BMAT) and in the coming weeks we will be launching a new look website, with a Trust newsletter and regular updates about the great educational experiences young people are engaging with across our family of schools. I firmly believe that the hopes and aspirations of our children are best served when the adults work together to ensure those dreams become a reality. At BMAT we see our schools as being at the very heart of our community, and we have a key role in making a positive difference in children’s lives and ensuring our young people are well prepared for adult life.

Sam Vickers

CEO, Batley Multi Academy Trust