A word from the CEO

November 29th, 2016

It is a beautiful day here at Octavo’s offices! It’s November, the weather is crisp, the sun is strong and we are not quite at the December panic to Christmas!

I don’t know if you have found this, but many people have recently been asking me about the changes in Croydon and South East London. There is a real interest in the regeneration which the new Boxpark represents, and that can only be a good thing in terms of recruitment into teaching in Croydon schools. From my account management visits to your schools this term, it is clear that recruitment, both in this and for next academic year, is very high on your agendas. It is completely understandable that you need to recruit, train, and-crucially-retain, excellent teachers, to get the very best results for our children.

This focus on recruitment is closely followed by and associated with your very real concern about your shrinking budgets. We in Octavo pride ourselves on our collaborative working with you as Headteachers and teachers and on our responsive problem solving. We are now building up to our third Recruitment Fair, which Octavo and CHTA run in partnership. This, in a very short time, has become the envy of other areas. In addition, we are supporting the development of the CHTA Croydon jobs website.

We are delighted to be working so closely with many more Bromley schools, particularly supporting their governance. A key concern amongst all the schools we work with remains to be the safeguarding of young people. We will continue to ensure that all our school staff, from teaching assistants to governors, continue to receive support and training in the way of regular Designated Lead and Designated Safeguarding Governor sessions and Safeguarding forums, by training our own team members who work across both boroughs.

In response to your requests for high quality courses delivered in suitable venues at an affordable rate, we have developed our own training room! We have taken the lease on an additional room on our floor in the Clocktower, kitted it out and created a lovely environment right here in the centre of Croydon, accessible to most across South East London. We are also reviewing the times of our courses with a view to running more courses in the afternoons so that your teachers do not miss the English and Maths lessons typically run in the mornings and cover may not be as necessary, thus saving you money. We are also starting a project that looks at developing some of our curriculum materials online, so that your teachers can access CPD in more than one way.

Finally, the arrival of Amanda Spielman at Ofsted in January heralds a likely set of changes at Ofsted and the preoccupation of Secretary of State, Justine Greening, with Grammar schools has meant that the focus on bedding in the many changes to assessment in KS2, KS4 and KS5 has not happened. Octavo’s response to these national changes is to continue to provide you with the best and most up to date information, case study examples of best practice and good strategies for raising the attainment of all our pupils whatever age or phase.

There are tough times ahead as the budgets get squeezed more and more but with our collaborative approach we are better placed than many other areas of London to weather this and come out on top.

Keep smiling! You are all doing a terrific job!

Working collaboratively and responsively to solve problems