Gill Bullock, Director of Education, and Jon Batchelor were delighted to be invited to take part in a recent debate in the House of Lords.
The discussion was hosted by the Earl of Listowel, Francis Hare, who takes a keen interest in education, families and communities. The event was held to launch the #AspireNotToExclude campaign by Nurture UK. The campaign seeks to promote the effectiveness to schools of adopting the 6 principles of nurture to help overcome behavioural challenges and thus prevent exclusions.
The event was attended by over 60 people representing policy makers, charities, the Alternative Provision and mainstream school communities, academics and treating consultants/practitioners.
First up was a presentation by Sir John Timpson CBE who, as well as owning a plethora of shoe repair shops, has (along with his late wife Alex) adopted 2 children and has fostered over 90 others. His insight in to the issues caused by attachment disorders and what, in his experience, is successful in supporting such children, was well received.
His was followed by a presentation from Yvonne Monaghan, Head of Consultancy at Nurture UK. Yvonne has vast experience of working with children at risk of exclusion and shared some of the success stories her intensely nurturing approach has delivered.
The final speaker was Drew Povey, Headteacher of Harrop Fold School in Little Hulton, and “star” (along with the children) of the Channel 4 documentary, Educating Great Manchester. Mr Povey recited the journey his school had been on since he took up the headship. At that stage it was “regarded” as the worst school in the country, in special measures, with a £3.5m budget deficit and in an area of serious deprivation. Change was needed! Under his leadership, the school effectively reinvented how to educate its children. Starting with the statement “we will not exclude”, empowering the whole staff team and creating a culture which ensured the needs of every child could be understood and acted up, it a remarkable achievement that not one child has been permanently excluded from Harrop Fold since Mr Povey became Head. A true inspiration, and a shining example of what can be achieved with some vision and highly effective leadership.
There followed a series of questions and comment from the audience, and the discussion was rounded off by a passionate call to arms from Kevin Kibble, CEO of NurtureUK who inspired everyone we spoke to give wholehearted support to the #AspireNotToExclude campaign.