Mr Dan Morrow, CEO, Woodland Academy Trust
I am passionate about removing as many challenges as possible for children to believe and achieve. My favourite metaphor for talking about the children in our care involves ‘invisible backpacks’. Inside those backpacks are all the negative experiences and difficulties children have faced which need to be unpacked; no child leaves their bag at the door when they come into Northumberland Heath, or in fact any school under the Trust’s leadership.
At Northumberland Heath we have created a framework that will allow children to believe and achieve and for staff to grow and develop. This supports a climate and culture based on excellence for all.
Education is everything. It is what makes the difference and changes the circumstances of where we are born and what we do. My education has given me every single chance in life - but that makes me a statistical anomaly, not proof that the system is working. The number of children who are from single parent families, in areas like Gillingham, who grew up on benefits etc. and went to Oxford and is now a CEO is ridiculously small. Please don’t think that makes me think I am special; far from it. It shows me that education is still not doing what it must do - equalise our society, give every child a voice and a chance and ensure that those most “disadvantaged” children are not so any longer. Because that’s the point isn’t it; if education cannot or does not remove that disadvantage there is almost nothing else that will. When our children leave us we will give them what they deserve; optimism, belief, a future.
That is what a group of amazing teachers and staff at school gave to me. That is what we as a school and Trust will do for our children. Every single one of them is a champion and our job, our mission, OUR BURNING PRIORITY, is to reveal it to them, their peers and the world at large. That is why we do what we do.