Why collaboration is critical
In the last few days, there have been some significant changes to the lockdown rules in the UK and as schools begin to reopen, it feels like we are at the beginning of the end of lockdown and the Covid19 pandemic. As we discuss the return to school and the importance of 'catching up' on the curriculum and explore the options around a summer school, there is a sense that we may be rushing to return to normal a little too quickly. It's important for us to pause and remember what we have learnt, how we have changed and how efficiently we have adapted before we stride forward aiming for the old. The reality for many I suspect, is that we have simply learnt too much, for us to make lists or even clearly articulate what we have learnt by being locked in and in many ways, locked down, since March. Yet, professionally, I think despite always talking about collaboration, lockdown has made it a reality for me and a complete non negotiable with regards to future developments and opportunities. It seems that in many ways, the onset and impact of the Covid19 pandemic put everyone on an even keel and more than that, it united our priorities, our focus and it created a sense of compassion and companionship that meant we worked together, as both an industry and society as a whole. It was easier to 'ask'. It felt more natural to express our own vulnerabilities and although we haven spoken about the importance of inclusion in recent years, it was the first time that it felt we could really bring our whole selves to work - even though we weren't leaving our own homes. We have always been passionate about sharing the voices of children. We are committed to ensuring children are heard and we always try to think differently so that we can put children and their needs at the centre of any narrative. Yet, Covid19 has taught us that we aren't alone and that children can not be the only voice we hear and share if our ambition is to create significant change.
Our characters, Frankie and Freya have played a pivotal role in the development of the Phoenix brand - and the response, whether it be from children and young people struggling with their emotions or teachers and parents who were struggling to create common ground with children, has been extraordinary. Last night, we welcomed Miss Merva Griffin to our team - another character created by the very talented Baz Rowell. Merva is hear to help us share the voice of teachers, to ensure their needs and the challenges they face are shared - and in the coming weeks we will introduce more characters to create a realistic picture of our society and the roles each of us can continue to play together, even when the rules of lockdown are relaxed. I hope you continue to join us for the journey and look forward to working together, to create a better education for us all.