Change of plan, thanks and condolences; how we are helping schools leaders connect.

12 big questions; 3 relevant resources; 4 articles written by our members

Hello listeners and subscribers,

After a brief break, I have something very exciting to share with you!

We’ve been working on something that will completely change the way we do things, improve these updates and empower you to connect and share with other We Are In Beta Community members in real time.

What’s in store today?

  • A change of plan, thanks and condolences

  • How we are helping school leaders to share practice

  • 12 big questions being asked on our new community platform

  • 3 relevant resources to help at this time

  • 4 awesome articles written by our members on the new community platform

Change of plan, thanks, condolences

🧭 After three months of research, fixing dates and getting parental permissions, understandably all of our face to face interviews for Series 3 of the We Are In Beta Podcast were postponed last week.

Thank you to everyone who’s been involved so far. We hope to get them going again when we can. In the mean time we’ll be running a new format of the podcast. More at the bottom.

🙏 I want to thank all the teachers and school leaders (and other key workers) for delivering such an incredible public service in recent days. And to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the school leaders (and others), who have lost their lives.

How we are helping school leaders to share practice

📢 Last week (true to our brand promise: we’ll never be finished and we’ll always be learning), we released the beta version of the We Are In Beta Community platform.

🌐 Now school leaders can access our content and news more easily, connect with others more deeply and share their approaches in real time.

📝We’ve been testing it with our podcast guests and a small number of our most engaged listeners and subscribers.

🙌 The response has been amazing!

In a free, dedicated group, over the last 10 days, school and trust leaders have been supporting each other to tackle the challenges they currently face. They’ve been asking big questions and sharing helpful solutions.

If you are a serving school leader and you want to join this pilot, click the button below and I’ll send you a private invite link.

Get an invite link

12 big questions

🤔 This week has thrown up some big questions, with many still to be answered. Here are some already being discussed on the new We Are In Beta Community website:

  1. How are you ensuring your FSM students will be able to eat?

  2. What protocols are you putting in place for social distancing / virus control in schools? Best medical guidance for staff rota making?

  3. What key documents have you put together that would be helpful to share with everyone?

  4. How are you supporting your students and teachers to learn and teach from home? How are people planning for asynchronous remote teaching for primary age children? 

  5. How will you keep the gap between more vulnerable and disadvantaged children and less vulnerable and disadvantaged peers to a minimum?

  6. How are you supporting families in light of school closures?

  7. How are you supporting and staying connected with your teams?

  8. How are you approaching hub provision and working with other schools?

  9. How are you approaching next term?

  10. How are you going to manage recruitment processes if we don’t see a return to school after Easter?

  11. Now that you have been forced to change how do things look and work in the short term, how can education come back differently after?

  12. How will the coronavirus closures affect school budgets?

Read their answers

3 Relevant Resources

🗒️ In just over a week, We Are In Beta Community members have already shared hundreds of nuggets of support, including: letters to parents, staff and students; guides for staff and students on how to use online learning resources; new policies and protocols; staff rotas; photos; words of advice and tales of inspiration; and a national campaign. Here are 3 of the best:

  • Google Classroom resources Headteacher Shonogh Pilgrim & Ansford Academy have spent the last 4 years building.

  • Strategic plan for summer term (student learning, staff CPD and wellbeing) from Manny Botwe - Headteacher, Tytherington School.

  • Headteachers’ Google Drive including template letters, virtual school materials, HR guidance and working from home resources from Will Smith - CEO, Greenshaw Learning Trust. Get in touch with Nicola Borrow directly.

Get resources

4 Awesome Articles

✍️ Members have been writing their own articles on the platform, as well as posting questions, sharing documents and listing jobs. Here are 4 of the first articles to be written:

  • 'Remote job interviews: some thoughts' by Clare Fletcher, Director of Schools, at YARE Education Trust.

  • 'Reflections on the importance of culture during exceptional times' by Manny Botwe, Headteacher at Tytherington School, Macclesfield.

  • 'How to smash a virtual job interview' by Will Mackintosh, Headteacher at Ark John Keats.

  • ‘Using Microsoft Teams’ by Chris Harris - Head of Computer Science and ICT, Spalding Grammar School.

Read (and write) articles

🎙️For now, a new format of the podcast

We can’t visit schools to record the very best sound right now but we still have the podcast. Over the coming weeks we’ll be releasing 10-15 minute calls, 2 to 3 times a week, sometimes hosted by Jay - We Are In Beta’s producer - and other times me. All to create some connection, celebrate how schools are innovating and explore the questions on their minds. If you’re innovating and want to take part, get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for playing your part in making education the place we all know it can be.

Speak soon,


Catch up on We Are In Beta Series 2

🎧 While you’re here, catch up on Series 2 of the podcast:

Listen on iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn 🔉

Catch up on PiXL Pearls (a We Are In Beta production)

🎧 ‘Best of me, best of we’. The late Sir John Rowling shares how we can get the best out of ourselves and each other.

Listen on Apple Podcasts Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn 🔉

️️❤️ If you find being connected to other school leaders and sharing approaches useful, hit the like button.