Governors, Trustees and Members came together at the annual Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust (OHC&AT) Governor Conference held on 8 October.
Jay Mercer, the Trust Chair of Trustees, welcomed everyone to the conference, saying, “Isn’t it nice to meet ‘real’ people after all those virtual meetings.”
John Prior, CEO of OHC&AT , shared some of the key achievements over the last year:
“Orchard Hill College continues to be outstanding, which is the linchpin of the Trust offering expertise, excellence and has a track record in offering life changing opportunities to the young people we are responsible for. In 2016, there were just three college centres, now there are eight.”
He also paid tribute to staff and the exceptional remote and online offer across OHC&AT during the periods of Covid lockdown; “It has been the most challenging 18 months but we never, ever closed. The work of staff teams has been humbling.”
He explained that development and growth is not necessarily about more schools or College centres, but about deepening and strengthening what we do. He gave the example of Dysart School where the Trust has worked proactively with the Local Authority to open two satellite sites to broaden and extend the offer to a larger number of pupils and students
He stressed the importance of investing in staff, governors and volunteers with training and events such as this conference. He also spoke about the moral responsibility to make OHC&AT’s voice heard and to champion the rights and talents of the young people who attend the College and our academies..
Peter Lauener, the College Chair of Trustees, thanked everyone for their contributions and said it was important that the ‘golden thread’ of governance ran all the way through from Members, to the Board of Trustees, Local Governors and through to staff and pupils/students. He said, “There is no other organisation like OHC&AT and we have a huge opportunity to contribute to the wider SEND landscape.”