Well, after four and half terms writing a weekly blog as Managing Director, this is my last edition. When I first started writing my blogs, I did at times wonder if I would fill the space in the bulletin, but the weekly discipline has actually been very cathartic, a period put aside each week to quietly reflect, read and digest research; alongside an opportunity to celebrate what has actually gone on in Camden schools that particular week.

I have been very fortunate in fact it has been a privilege to have worked in Camden and to lead Camden Learning. The attraction when I first considered the role, was that this was different, an opportunity to lead something new, a place based partnership, which is school led, as a joint venture with the council. I am very proud of our collective achievements which include the Hubs, which I think epitomise the teacher led approach to something, a result of either an innovative idea or a Camden Learning priority. The work on tackling exclusions has been very partnership focused, work with the SYDRC and student mentoring, peer to peer learning with our secondary schools and thinking differently about options around deferred exclusions, I look forward to hearing more about the impact of this work.

So why leave Camden if it is so good, I hear you say? It is time for a change, personally and professionally for me, and also Camden Learning will benefit from a change of leadership too. The position of DCS is a pivotal and influential role, I have always been child and family focused and the opportunity in Islington provides me with the opportunity to be even more strategic and apply the learning and experiences from my time in Camden to a new locality. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and recognise Martin Pratt, who is an incredible role model and respected colleague, who I have learnt so much from.

Furthermore, with the Education Strategy and the White Paper, it provides the mandate and opportunity to build on the foundations already in place, an ideal time for a new Managing Director and Director of Learning to take Camden Learning forward into the next exciting phase.

Camden Learning would not be in the strong position it is, without the Camden Learning board, who have been strong advocates, invested directors with a passion for place and education, thank you all for all your support. I want to thank and recognise the incredible work that Christine Gilbert provides to the board, Camden and the support provided to me as MD. Christine is a remarkable Chair, who is beyond generous with her time, and whose wisdom is far reaching. I have learned so much from Christine, we have certainly challenged each other, but we have had rich and rewarding conversations, as well as many chuckles and laughed along the way, thank you Christine.

Finally, thank you to all the heads, chairs and staff, what a remarkable job you do on a day-to-day basis, never forget, Camden has some of the best schools in the country. Other localities look on in envy at Camden education and our partnership model, wanting a slice of what we have. Keep up the incredible work, I will certainly be checking in on you all from across the border!

Last but not least! Thank you to all my colleagues, it has been a pleasure working with you all.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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