Why did we change our name to Thrive?
Updated: Mar 2
Two short answers and one longer one.
The first short answer is that it was becoming increasingly irritating hearing other MAT leaders, colleagues, union officials, DfE officials etc. constantly getting our name wrong. The final straw on this was being jokingly referred to as the Yakult Trust (YHCLT geddit?).
The second short answer is that I became convinced that 'YHCLT' didn't speak clearly enough about what we wanted to achieve. I wanted a name that serves as a 1 word mission statement, so that every stakeholder knew what it was that we set as our ambition.
The long answer came through 3 sources - listening to colleagues and pupils, debating with Trustees, and reading 7 sources (you can read my review of each in separate blogs) namely;
Thrive : The purpose of schools in a changing world by Valerie Hannon and Amelia Peterson, 2021
The Big Ask, The Big Answer by Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children's Commissioner, 2021
Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth, 2017
Start With Why by Simon Sinek, 2009
Everyone's Invited campaign, 2021
Rapid review into Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges by Ofsted, 2021
After months of listening, debating and reading the mists began to clear and I reached some significant conclusions, none of which are new but all of which need restating and refining.
There is so much more to being a family of cooperative schools than seeking excellent academic outcomes. Until fairly recently saying such a thing was seen as a very risky thing to do. It could be interpreted as saying 'academic outcomes are not our first priority' - that is not what I am saying. What I'm saying is that we should shift from seeing academic outcomes as being at the top of a priority list to seeing them as being at the core of what we are about. Thriving academically is central to what we want for each pupil - but there are other ambitions that surround the core.
Giving each pupil the opportunity to thrive in terms of their mental and physical wellbeing, and in the development of their character, creates the environment necessary for them to succeed academically. This idea is the mantle that surrounds the core. This is why Thrive schools place such an emphasis on high quality pastoral care, proactive safeguarding, respectful staff / pupil relationships, great partnerships with families, restorative approaches to behaviour management, character development, affordable uniforms, good quality school meals, school nursing provision ... the list is near endless. By giving great provision in each of these areas we enable pupils to Thrive physically and mentally.
Thriving is an entitlement for all pupils, not just those who 'make the grade'. The state education system is driven by an overly stringent accountability agenda that puts immense pressure on schools to chase certain metrics with the temptation to focus on certain pupils and not on others. Our schools will resist this pressure. Every child has the opportunity to thrive, no matter what their potential, their background or their life experiences.
Mission statement - 'Inspiring pupils to thrive in life'
The mission statement sums up our thinking. We want all pupils to thrive, to reach their potential, and then to see that there are potentialities they never knew existed. To be fulfilled intellectually, to discover the person they are, to know that they are powerful. Thriving and Thrive is inclusive, is about the future and is about the whole person.