Schools need to be revolutionary post-pandemic as Leeds education leader shuns 'back to normal' approach

Going 'back to normal' post COVID would be missing a trick for the future of education says the leader of a Leeds based academies trust.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 4:45 am

White Rose Academies Trust - which manages Leeds City, Leeds East and Leeds West Academies, as well as more recently Alder Tree Primary Academy - says it is exploring a hybrid way of working as a permanent structure as the recovery from COVID continues.

Andrew Whitaker, the CEO of the trust, says that over the lockdown periods it found that some people thrived in a digital world and the ability to now teach and learn remotely cuts down on lost learning time through isolating, illness and other factors.

He said: "We are exploring hybrid and have got experiences where the families that we serve, and staff, the pandemic has caused them to re-evaluate and as an employer we have to make sure we are more flexible and have hybrid ways of working.

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"Mixing things up is sometimes a good thing. If you have a revolutionary philosophy in a professional or collegiate way - that is a much better deal for young people in the community. If it is done in a partnership way across the city that is a great thing. That is at all stages of education. If every university did the same course in the same way, going through the same experience where would the evolution and revolution come from."

WRAT is also post pandemic re-evaluating the work it does in the community and the way it works with other relevant local organisations. For some time the school had been preparing food parcels for vulnerable students and families in its community but realised that it was duplicating the work of other groups so is now turning its attention to better ways to spend and use resources.

Mr Whitaker said: "We have had to re-look at our relationships. There were some amazing groups that we knew nothing about prior to the pandemic, now we work with them. We realised as a trust we were duplicating things and should offer additional value, so with this resource, as a school, we need to do something else."

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