Meet the man leading Fylde coast education into the future
The new man leading the charge in the continuous fight to provide top-notch education for every Fylde coast child has shared his vision for the future - and the challenges our schools expect to face amid the ongoing threat of Covid-19.
Dean Logan, a former head teacher and previous chief executive of the Achievement Through Collaboration Trust, has been appointed the new CEO of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust, which oversees schools at the heart of Blackpool.
He spoke of the importance of tight-knit communities in supporting the education of children all over the town.
He said: "The key thing is that children come first and staff are supported, and we need to do that across all schools. There's a wealth of expertise in our schools and we all have a part to play for the interest of our pupils.
"The thought that we can make a difference is really key to me. The opportunity to make a difference, even just a small one, for someone in their education, to switch them on and give them the ability to be successful, is a really powerful motivator."
FCAT chairman Joel Arber said: "We're very ambitious for Blackpool and it's children. Making sure that every child who comes through our dors is the vest best they can be and use education as a way of improvding their lives and improving their outcomes. It's a fantastic opporutnity and it's something we want to really focus on.
"We are responsible for more than 50 per cent of Blackpool school leavers, so that's an enormous pressure to get it right, to work with the community and our tremendous staff to make a massive difference."
Mr Logan, who was a founding member of the ATC Trust, which oversees 13 academies in Lancashire and Blackburn, said no major changes could be expected to take place within Blackpool's education system at first, as it would take time to identify any problems, and to work out ways of making improvements.
"I think it's really important to take the time to understand the organisation, to identify the things that need developing and build upon them," he said. "Undoubtedly there will be things that will change, but it's too early to say at this point what needs to.
"There's a wealth of experience within the organisation and that will support the developments that we need, and enable the Trust to grow.
"What we would like to do is understand what parents' and guardians' views are of the Trust, so we can engage effectively with them, and that's perhaps where pupils will see the most significant changes.
"Going forward, the biggest challenge we are facing at the moment is dealing with the pandemic. That's putting a lot of pressure on families and staff all across the country. It's impacting how well we can provide education for people. But the level of resilience seen among staff has been phenomenal. The way the sector has responded has been quite amazing.
"I think our resources are our key strength. I don't think it will be any more challenging than the past two years have been. We're in a better place now in terms of understanding Covid-19, but also a better place in our responses. Remote learning is well-established and can be brought back if needed. I hope we won't need to though, and I don't expect we will need to.
"Schools have built on their processes to respond to ongoing changes, and in such a case that Omicron does spread - which is not unexpected - our policies will reflect that."
He added: "The learning that schools have taken from that lockdown period is now informing our practice. The ability to use technology is improving to such a degree that it's now being used in all our classrooms.
"I'm absolutely delighted to be given the opportunity to lead education in Blackpool into the future. I have been encouraged by all the conversations I have had with people, I'm starting to meet school leaders. There's a real optimism and drive to grow the Fylde coast's reputation for high quality education for all pupils."
Mr Arber said: "We're extremely excited to have Dean Logan join us and help lead the Trust into what promises to be a very exciting new stage of development of continued improvement and ultimate growth."
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