We all know the expression that “many hands make light work”. One of the key advantages of working within a group of schools – or a group of anything for that matter – is the opportunity to draw on one another’s experiences and expertise whilst being able to apportion roles and tasks across the group based upon those qualities within the group. 

One of John Taylor MAT’s core values is Collegiality – and beyond the inherent efficiencies of working together comes the pleasure of working with others.  Human beings are social creatures, and those of us who choose to work in schools do so at least in part because we enjoy regular and positive interaction with others.  Neuroscientist Sam Harris observed that even in the most austere maximum-security prisons, where inmates are housed with counterparts who have committed terrible and brutal crimes, solitary confinement – to be left alone – is still a harsh form of punishment.

Wednesday (1st March), saw two further steps in John Taylor MAT’s journey toward really effective collaboration.  First, we were joined by our sixth secondary school – Blythe Bridge High – which will add tremendously to our group in terms of their experiences and expertise.  Blythe Bridge has worked alongside us for quite a while, via our Teaching School work and more latterly through Associate Membership.  We look forward to a more profound collaboration now that the school is within our partnership. As with all our schools, Blythe Bridge has a unique warmth and character, and has great people – young and less young – to work with.

Second, we launched our new internal collaborative platform  – The Vault.  Our use of technology became much more sophisticated, and ubiquitous, during Covid restrictions, and we appreciate the opportunities that working together and sharing resources online can bring.  Our new platform is a significant upgrade on our previous repository – from which we have transferred across over 12000 resources – and uses the newer versions of Sharepoint and Teams to increase its functionality and ease of operation.  With areas for teachers and support staff, and leaders at all levels, we’re incredibly excited to see how The Vault can harness the experience and expertise of our colleagues across our schools to enable them to further improve our provision, reduce their workload, and feel the benefits of working closely alongside others.

With ‘How to’ guides, the Trust’s calendar, access to our core documents and governance portal, we want The Vault to become the most important “go to” resource for colleagues across the Trust.

And with areas set aside for uploading, and then downloading, learning resources for all subjects at every key stage we want colleagues to share their work generously with others, and benefit in turn from their generosity. By being able to share larger files in a variety of formats with a wider range of colleagues, The Vault offers a much-improved method of sharing than via, say, email distribution.  As a Trust, we will be recognising those colleagues and those schools who “pay it forward” as we get our new platform up and running.  Look out for posts on our social media to see how The Vault will continue to develop.

Many hands make light work, and a better finished product!

As always, thanks for reading.