Whether it is keeping close and constant communication open with parents or building strong links with local businesses, the role of the school within a local community should never be underestimated.
So when big decisions are discussed around schools, buildings and expansion, it is only right that schools consult their stakeholders, parents, neighbours and many more besides.
We currently have two ongoing projects that we are seeking the views of the public.
You may have read in the local media about our plans to sell our head office in Park Road, Haverhill.
The first thing to note is that these are just proposals at this stage. A six-week consultation has been launched and, by the time you read this, we would have held a public meeting for anyone wanting to know more and share their views.
It is also worth saying that our head office, like so many others, has changed somewhat since the pandemic. Many of our trust staff work remotely or in a hybrid system so we no longer need such a big head office.
Finally, and most importantly, all money raised from the sale would be invested into an ambitious revamp of facilities at the nearby Castle Manor Academy.
The second public consultation is taking place at Thomas Gainsborough School (pictured) and concerns the expansion of their sixth form facilities.
Once again, it is something we need to open up to consultation and we look forward to hearing the community’s views.
This came hot on the heels of our Section 10 consultation to open a new special school in Romford where, once again, we went out to the public to seek their views.
All of these proposals are hugely important for our schools and it is only right we talk to the local community and stakeholders about these exciting plans.
As I write this, at the start of the first full week of the new school year, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year.
It is a time to look ahead and there are many reasons to view 2023 with positivity and hope.
We know the last 12 months saw challenges caused by the pandemic and cost of living crisis and we know further challenges await in the coming months.
But time and time again, our schools continue to meet these challenges head-on and rise above them. And they will do this by working in partnership with their local community.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2023 for everyone.
By Tim Coulson, Chief Executive, Unity Schools Partnership