Ed Vainker, Executive Headteacher, Reach Academy Feltham - Academic and rigorous or nurturing and cuddly? How to improve progress by investing in relationships with families
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed I took a break from the usual publishing schedule over Easter. Normal service resumed from now on.
Hello to all you excellent, new subscribers too! You can catch up with previous issues featuring Rob Carpenter, Elroy Cahill, Evelyn Forde and Will Smith here.
I'm delighted to release episode #5 of the We Are In Beta Podcast - an interview with the wonderful Ed Vainker, Executive Headteacher, Reach Academy in Feltham.
He shares how their ‘cradle to career vision’ and investing in family relationships has impacted on pupil progress.
So, take a break or schedule some time on your commute:
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👀 Read the full transcription 📖
Why are people loving this episode?
What do we talk about in the podcast?
How North America influenced his education philosophy
Why Reach Academy Feltham may never have come to exist
Why he’s reluctant to shout from the rooftops about Reach Academy’s success
Which strand of work runs through everything they do and which organisations have been pivotal to their success
An ‘unfashionable’ opinion he has about student attainment data
How they can afford to timetable teachers to not be teaching to make teachers lives easier
How this work will be shared with other schools and thousands of trainee teachers
Why he thinks teachers leaving the profession might actually help the retention
His latest thinking on offering staff more flexibility
Which leadership model has been central to improving teaching and learning
Which organisations Reach has worked with to keep getting better
Why two cross-sector training programmes were the best professional development experiences he’s ever had
What he thinks the school can do better to improve CPD
How he makes sure the organisations Reach partners with are worth their salt
Why he’s glad he isn’t a headteacher in France
Why he is surprisingly bullish about the funding crisis
How he has reduced costs and increased income for the school
What one question he would ask every headteacher if he could
The ‘heart attack’ in the first year of teaching
Why he thinks support families and communities before students begin school is the key to a bright future in education
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The best In Beta bits
We Are In Beta is a positive space that aims to capture the knowledge of inspiring school leaders.
As a thank you for being a valued member of the community, I curate the practical strategies and solutions to the challenges they’ve face so you don’t miss out on them - the partnerships, the programmes, the books and the blogs.
So what’s come up via Ed's interview?
A bold and fascinating documentary that tells the story of educational disadvantage from a student’s perspective. It follows Harry, a student at Reach Academy, through his time in Year 7 and 8.
An application guide that changed the direction of his life and subsequently the Feltham community's too
The trailer for a film about charter schools in the US that holds huge personal significance for Ed's decision to start a brand new school.
Reach Academy's original free school application, which might be a handy ‘how to’ if you’re thinking about setting up a free school
A list of schools that started their journeys at the same time as Reach, who might be willing to share their experiences with you
A charity Ed has huge respect for and cites as being crucial to Reach Academy’s success
Another organisation that's been pivotal to how they use assessment alongside their curriculum
A blog that brilliantly spells out the foundations of their impressive curriculum work - must read
The funding stream that made it possible for Ed to timetable expert teachers not to be teaching so they can redesign their curriculum
A list of schools, who also successfully bid for the funding, who you might want to connect with
The Leadership Model that underpins the improvement of teaching and learning at Reach Academy
The book Reach Academy's new teacher induction programme leans heavily on
The organisation that trained their teaching and learning coaches, who Ed praises
A training provider they worked with to improve CPD in terms of the quality of practice
A school Ed admires for the work they have done around understanding student backgrounds and their social, emotional and mental health needs
A clever piece of software that allows them to make their ordering and invoicing smarter and more manageable.
A new collection of practical and conceptual essays about what makes for a positive secondary curriculum, which Ed and his colleagues have contributed to
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