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OWN Trust Community Group 20.09.23

By Fiona Schneider, Marketing and Communications Officer, OWN Trust

On Wednesday 20th September 2023, the OWN Trust Community Group, comprised of Stuart Mansell (OWN Trust -CEO), Jo Simmons (Orton Wistow Primary School - Year Six Class Teacher), Carly Pearson (Nene Valley Primary School - SENCO), Kelly Fenton-Bradshaw (Woodston Primary School - Class Teacher) and Fiona Schneider (OWN Trust - Marketing and Communications Officer) met at Woodston.

This was our first meeting back after the summer holiday and, after agreeing the last meeting minutes, we discussed four main points.

1. Tracking interactions across the Trust

Last year saw the introduction of a matrix for tracking interactions between everyone in the Trust. The aim is to ensure that every stakeholder has an opportunity to engage with Trust activities in one or more of the categories and that this engagement enhances the sense of belonging and strengthens the sense of community.

Interactions across the Trust fall under six main categories:

  1. Professional Events
  2. Professional Collaborations
  3. Social Events
  4. Inter-school Events
  5. Community/Charity Events
  6. Communications

I'm delighted to report that last year everyone, from children and parents to trustees and teaching staff, had the opportunity to be involved in some kind of interaction at Trust-level. Interactions included: Trust Development Days, CPD, invitations to social events such as the Quiz Night and Theatre Trip, receiving the OWN Trust newsletter, charity fundraising days, and much more.

There are areas for improvement, however, and this year we are looking to expand engagement amongst all members of the Trust community, particularly where opportunities have been identified. For example, we are holding a TA Training Day on 30th October 2023 for TAs from across the schools.

The matrix has been reset to record the coming year's collaborations. We discussed the need to make sure that we capture all interactions and, to this end, a form will be created so that people can quickly log when meetings have taken place.

2. Events for this year

Last year was the first year of social events becoming established. The most popular was the summer quiz night, although there was also lots of positive feedback from attendees of the Theatre trip and Nene Park Run

This year, the Community Group is looking at organising something for each term, starting with the OWN Trust Celebration Night in November. Invitations to staff, trustees, and governance committee members have already been sent out for what promises to be a fabulous night when the Trust community can join together and celebrate their achievements so far. 

We are also planning to hold another charity fundraising day in the summer. This year, it is the turn of Orton Wistow Primary School to choose the charity. More details about the Charity Day will be released nearer the time.

3. Community Representatives

We are delighted that Mia Downs will be joining us at the next meeting as an additional Community Representative from Woodston Primary School. Mia works as a Teaching Assistant and will be invaluable in ensuring that our community initiatives take into account the needs of support staff in the three schools. 

We are hoping to also recruit 2 more Community Representatives from amongst the support staff at Orton Wistow Primary School and Nene Valley Primary School when we present at the TA Day on 30th October 2023.

4. Communications

The next stage of strengthening the sense of community in the OWN Trust is to develop a set of Guidelines for internal communications. We are a growing Trust based on three sites, and the challenge is to ensure that all stakeholders stay in touch and informed about what is happening. Plans are already afoot for a Trust App which will enable everyone to receive the latest Trust news via an app on their phone. There are, however, many other initiatives that will be brought together in one document, so that internal communications are clear, timely, accurate, relevant, inclusive, and accessible.

The next Community Group meeting will be held on 22nd November 2023 at Nene Valley Primary School.