On Wednesday, I attended a session at the House of Commons organised by the Anne Frank Trust, marking the 90th anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth. It was a thought provoking session, hearing from some inspirational young people about how education is the key to challenging prejudice. James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, spoke at the event and recounted the powerful words from Anne Frank’s diary, that still resonate today, and it is fantastic that the young ambassadors are keeping her message alive. During the session, Eva Schloss unveiled a specially commissioned portrait of Anne Frank ‘Reflection’ by Fiona Graham-Mackay which was to be the star lot of a silent auction at the charity dinner to raise money for the Anne Frank Trust. The session most certainly reminded, us all about how these issues around prejudice are sadly more relevant today than ever and that education is the key to challenging prejudice and discrimination.

On Thursday evening, the White British network met at St Mary and St Pancras, where there was a session with Paul Corrigan, who has written a book called Schooling the Smash Street Kids back in 1979, where he asks the fundamental question about the place of male working class youths in our society and their reactions to that society. We as a group discussed the topic of class, the changing job market and intrinsic motivation. Paul did caveat his conversation with the group that the book and his research was 50 years ago, but that was part of the attraction, to reflect back over time, consider where we are now and what has or has not changed.

Finally, on Friday, I had the pleasure of spending the day with our School Business Managers at their conference at the Arlington Centre. It was a really engaging day, with a range of outstanding speakers contributing to the programme. Graeme Hornsby has significant experience of school business management and is a member of the Implementation Review at the DfE; in addition, he is a genuine advocate for this group of school leaders. Hayley Dunn, most recently a Finance Director of a multi academy trust, shared her learning around accountancy and finance, which in the current context was warmly welcomed. Finally, Helen Wesson who is responsible for the development and dissemination of Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) research and business intelligence, spoke to colleagues about professional standards and supporting SBM professional development.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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