Reflections 2016: Howard Gee – Training takes pride of place

This story is over

The year started with a complete career change for me. I retired from full-time work at Siemens after 37 years’ service and, following a short break for a wonderful three weeks’ holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia to attend a wedding, set up a part-time consultancy business.

Even though I didn’t intend to work for more than a couple of days a week, I’ve already spent time working in Sweden, Germany and Canada.

The year has also been an extremely exciting one for the Priory Federation of Academies Trust. We made the decision to appoint a single-post CEO which meant that we had to recruit new Heads at Priory LSST and, subsequently, at Priory City of Lincoln. We managed to make excellent appointments, and this important decision sets up the trust for the growth that both we and the government expect in the near future.

I am very proud of the huge steps we are taking in training in many different fields. Our purpose-built Keyworth Centre is now delivering post-16 courses under the umbrella of Priory Training, while our in-house apprenticeship model has been firmly established.

Priory Training has been building strong links with local employers, too, in readiness for the large growth in apprentice training courses – ranging from business administration to construction – we will be offering during the next 12 to 24 months.

The Keyworth Centre is also the home of the Lincolnshire Teaching School Alliance (LTSA) and our School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT).

The LTSA, which is made up of 19 Lincolnshire secondary schools, is now delivering a large range of high-quality Continuous Professional Development in the areas of teaching, leadership and governance.

The SCITT successfully trained 26 new teachers last year and, in 2016-17, has expanded its programme to 85 trainee teachers in more than 50 primary and secondary schools.

In terms of educational outcomes, the four academies in the trust had a very good year. In particular, Priory Ruskin had an excellent result in the new Department for Education headline measure of progress (P8) which was the best in Lincolnshire (including selective schools) and in the top three per cent in the country. Priory Witham achieved an Ofsted rating of “Good” in every category, which is a fantastic result for an “all-through” school.

Priory LSST continues to equip many Sixth Formers for success in top-flight university applications and, in a reflection of its ever-growing reputation, Priory City of Lincoln is oversubscribed for entry in 2017.

As you can see from the above, being involved in academy governance can be varied and rewarding, and I’m very grateful to my fellow trustees and local governors for the (unpaid) time and expertise that they provide.

The education landscape is in continual change, including the demands on trustees and governors. We are always looking for new “volunteers”, so please get in touch with me through one of our academies if you have an interest. There will never be a dull moment.

New Year’s resolutions

My personal resolution for 2017 is to celebrate my next big birthday to the full and to help my similarly-aged friends to do the same, while trying to find my way to the gym and golf course more often!

My resolution for the Priory Federation of Academies is to grow the trust by at least one academy during 2017, while maintaining excellent outcomes for pupils and continuing to develop every employee to their full potential.