Wednesday 5 April 2017

Veritas Values

At Veritas our MAT strategy group put a lot of thought into the development of our ethos and values yet it remains strikingly simple. As we look to develop the trust I have decided to revisit these and consider what as the Trust Business Manager, they mean to me.

We have promised 'irresistible learning for all' in our mission statement, encompassing the following 3 core values:

As a member of the teaching staff it may be more obvious to see where these elements might fit into daily life; ensuring that little Johny (or Jilly!) is supported in developing friendships, encouraged to believe in themselves and their abilities and that they are wowed by an amazing curriculum every day.

As a member of what is often referred to as the 'back office' it would be easy to lose the connection between the day job and what we are all here for. For us, the creation of the 3i's was not purely for the pupils, it was for the staff too - we wanted everyone associated with Veritas to experience these values.

For me as a leader, I want to ensure that my team are supported and have the freedom to innovate - I am a great advocate that we shouldn't just do something because that's how it's always been done. It might be that there is good reason, but there could be a better/quicker/cheaper way.
The pace of change in recent years has at times left me feeling in a bit of a spin with a myriad of new ideas but not enough time to implement them all - there can seem such a rush that a particular idea needs to be integrated but by next week you have moved on to something else. It concerns me that innovation may be lost along the way.

But where does this desire come from? There are many people carrying out similar roles to mine - are they all as driven and compulsive to improve - of course not and I am certainly not painting myself as some kind of superhero but something spurs me on to create the environment for our trust to thrive.

So what is different?

Academisation - this embedded a sense of responsibility - we became responsible for our destiny and failure was not an option.

Leadership - the vision described and the alternative on offer gave us clear direction and I instantly bought in to that - remaining the same was not an option as the political landscape slid beneath our feet.

Belief - we knew we were a good body of staff, who care unreservedly about those children in our community. It was unthinkable to crystal ball gaze and see a future where we became a 'franchise' of an academy chain.

Research - so you know there is a problem, how do you find the solution? Research; become an expert, evaluate the options, at the very least know what you are facing; furnish yourself with information - the tools to dig yourself out of that hole. Isn't that what we are here to do for our children - to give them information, education - the tools to give them choices?

Review - in order to assess the way out of a problem, it is necessary to know the current state of play, strengths and weaknesses - you need to know what you are good at and what you are not so good at in order to develop a plan of action.

Bringing this back to our core purpose (the children) innovation, to me, hosts new ways to be more effective in resourcing the tools required to educate and nurture our learners (young and old(er!)) This might be the introduction of a staff performance management portal or the procurement of new outdoor equipment and anything in between.


For me, inspiration comes from random people, places and events but the opportunity for this inspiration is born out of a research based approach to aspire for greatness.

With the tech available now, the world is so much smaller. It wasn't so long ago that collaboration would have meant meeting up with colleagues within say a 20 mile radius. Today I have been in contact with contemporaries in the midlands and beyond. It has been know for me to correspond internationally! This is a very different mindset to the days of Local Authority control. I don't mean this to be in any way derogatory to the L.A. - strategy was dealt with at county level, so at school level we simply followed instructions. As an academy, we are responsible for creating our own strategy and that has opened up a whole new need to be inspirational.

So where does the desire to be inspirational come from?

Feeling appreciated - this can not be underestimated. People might moan about not being paid enough but not appreciating your staff is far worse than not paying them enough. If you genuinely appreciate your staff (and they feel it (that's the important bit!)) you get more out of them than if you pay them extra but they don't feel appreciated.

Pride - Feeling that you have done a good job and that this has been recognised (appreciated) results in a feeling of pride - this often drives a person on to do more - people like to be praised and are genuinely encouraged by the success of doing something well. I think once you have created the habit of doing things to the best of your ability it is embedded.

I have just asked a colleague to 'do me a favour' and write a blog for our website; half expecting her to cringe at the thought - instead she bubbled with excitement and came up with a host of different tangents that she could go off on - this is because she too is inspired by what is going on here at Veritas - it is quite infectious!

Team vision - I am inspired by my team on a daily basis, whether by their sheer grit and determination to get through the quagmire of learning; to get to grips with new roles or their positive attitude to get to the end of the day with a smile. They definitely posses all the attributes on our school's vision wheel.

The importance of this is seen everyday but none more so than when the children are awestruck that Mr & Mrs Wally are in the school office on World Book Day!


Our team is made up of a set of individuals, we are all different and come with different skills, personalities and baggage. 

This was characterised in our choice of logo - the 3i's (referencing the 3 core values) represent individuals working together with a team or partnership approach (this could be pupils, staff, parents or other collaborative partners) making up the 'V' shape for Veritas. 

What is important is that we support each other, creating the environment where we can be the best that we can be. If we succeed in this, we can achieve 'irresistible learning for all' because this supportive and encouraging environment breeds innovation and inspiration. I know that because I learned it in my research!

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