A Christmas message from our CEO - Antony Hughes

‘For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas’. A Christmas Carol


That’s certainly how I feel this week, spending time across our academies talking to children over Xmas dinner and watching the many fabulous performances. 


I am also grateful to one of our Harmony Year 6’s for reigniting my love of Charles Dickens.  It began following a reading session this term and has led me back to the celebrated novella by ‘the man who created Christmas’ that I once read religiously every year at this time to catch the right mood.


It has also reminded me of the power of books to distract and to heal when things get tough.  Something I have needed myself this term at times and I know others have too.


The next two weeks are a time to defy the pressures and challenges of working on our great endeavour of educating nearly 5000 Harmony children - to rest, to reflect and feel peace, and to celebrate the many achievements this year. 


As a regular viewer of Jools Holland on New Year’s Eve I shall use a musical metaphor - the Harmony Hits of 2019 would be too many to feature here and would go on well into the night and draw from the many different contexts and staff unique to our 14 academies. 


Every genre would be represented because our diversity is a strength and every new academy that joins makes us stronger. 


It is not the season for statistics, but I can tell you that across Oldham and Derby this year children are making great, and in some cases best ever standards of progress and attainment in their learning. 


They do this because our staff ‘consider nothing Impossible and treat possibilities as probabilities’ (David Copperfield).


I see the fostering, broadening and deepening of learning all enshrined in our Harmony Pledge that for me is the way we reflect our shared educational philosophy. 


That and the culture of putting children at the centre of life in school are what unites us.            


My new year’s resolution is the same one I have every day of the year - to do my best in my role with our leadership teams to ensure Harmony is a Great Place to Learn and Great Place to Work because that what our staff and children deserve. 


We are a Trust that has unashamedly Great Expectations of ourselves and our children and a Dickens-like conviction in fairness and social justice.  I can think of no more important vocation than ours, and thank you for pursuing it with such passion, pride, and resilience every day. 


Enjoy your rest, it is very well deserved.  Merry Xmas everyone.