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”Over four hundred staff from across ten schools gathered to celebrate our #CommunityofGrowth.

Aintree Racecourse provided this year’s backdrop for our family of Trust schools to gather as a community and share our vision and values.

Over the course of the day staff were able to catch up with old and new members of our community whilst enjoying Aintree’s surroundings and hospitality.

Our event commenced with an introduction from Chair of Trustees, Phil Mason providing a warm welcome and initial concept around the theme of our community. Phil handed over to our new CEO, Jill Albertina who reiterated our vision and values as well as expanding upon #CommunityofGrowth. Jill shared her ideas and what is important to her around:

  • Community and belonging. Making sure that through our shared mission and values; children and staff feel seen, know they are valued and enabled to be their very best self by attending schools anchored in their local communities whilst also providing a window to the world of opportunity.
  • Championing Children and Adults. An insistence that we all become the best we can be, that every child knows they are somebody important and that they have the people around them they need to thrive and live life in all its fullness.
  • Excellence in all that we do. Achieving the best standards so that our children and young people are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and social capital they need to live successful and happy lives and developing central services that work well with our schools to secure their success.

We were then introduced by Phil Mason to our specialist celebrity guest speaker, Jay Blades MBE. Jay is a British furniture restorer and television presenter on the BBC’s ‘The Repair Shop’. He shared his experiences of education and growing up in Hackney, which in his childhood was a working-class area of Inner London. He gave his insight into his work with disadvantaged and disengaged groups as well as explaining how communities hold the key to making change happen. Jay was very accommodating and went out of his way to provide a plethora of selfies and short videos for staff, friends, and relatives. We thank him for sharing his thoughts and stories.

The whole event was interspersed with brilliant video footage of pupils, from across our family of schools explaining what community means to them in their local area. Thanks to all those staff who were able to capture and provide some excellent examples of community at work.

The afternoon began in style with none other than our Trust Patron, Sir John Jones who, in his usual flamboyant way provided a powerful talk on compassionate solidarity and the power of community. Sharing his stories and anecdotes which left us all feel upbeat and empowered to grow our community and provide the best outcomes for the children and their families.

The event was closed by our new CEO, Jill who encouraged us all to continue the #communityofGrowth by sharing knowledge and joining forces for the good of us all. All staff, visitors and guests took home a seed pencil containing sunflower seeds, the sewing season (March-April) these seeds must be planted and nurtured to grow. Evidence of this growth will be shared via social media, using the hashtag #CommunityofGrowth and over the summer we hope to see many sunflowers reaching to the sky, without limits.

Winners of the tallest sunflower competition will be announced through of newsletters, with prizes awarded for the tallest.

Thanks to everyone who contributed and attended this wonderful day.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

Jill Albertina tweeted: ‘Had the most amazing day yesterday opening the @VantageAcadem.

staff conference – what a privilege it was to share the stage with our Chair of Trustees Phil Mason; @jayblades_ & @sirjohnfjones #communityofgrowth

Just wow!

‘@sirjohnfjones Such an amazing & powerful session this afternoon on ‘Compassionate Solidarity‘ & the power of community at staff conference today! Thank you thank you thank you! #communityofgrowth @VantageAcademi1’

Knowsley Lane Tweeted:

‘An amazing day with our Vantage family! ?

Inspirational sessions from @jayblades_ and @sirjohnfjones #community #communityofgrowth #VantageFamily @VantageAcademi1 @jillyalb’

Flixton Girls Posted:

‘Team Flixton at the @VantageAcademi1 conference today considering the power of us and community @jillyalb @LizPeacock14 #communityofgrowth.

@VantageAcademi1 conference day exploring #communityofgrowth. Great vision from our new CEO @jillyalb as well as some other important messages around compassionate solidarity, trust & togetherness and considering our collective actions in making the boat row faster. @sirjohnfjones’

Emma Dilworth said: ‘A great day with the @VantageAcademi1 family reminding ourselves of the importance of connection and community. It was heartwarming to spend the day together. ? @sirjohnfjones @jillyalb #CommunityofGrowth’

‘Fantastic to hear @jayblades_ talk about the power of community and the difference it can make to the lives of children & families! @VantageAcademi1 #communityofgrowth’