The last couple of weeks may have appeared from the outside to have been fairly quiet (though with the Olympics occupying everyone’s attention, no one may have actually even noticed!). But we’ve been rather like a swan gliding through the water whilst furious paddling is going on beneath the surface. There has been an incredible amount to sort out as we develop our pre-opening plans.
When applying to set up a free school your proposal mainly has to focus on what will happen when the school opens. There’s relatively little about the set up phase, so we’re now in the midst of developing our project plans for the period leading up to opening. Of course there’s lots in our application that guide and inform this, such as our ethos and vision, community engagement and various policies and procedures. And we’re working closely with the Department of Education and Barnet Council’s education department to draw on their expertise to inform this and employ good practice in all we do.
So we are busy preparing our budget, drafting our admissions policy, planning the recruitment of our head teacher, producing a prospectus for prospective pupils (and their parents), setting up our financial systems, finalizing governance and project management arrangements and a host of other things. Our to do list now runs to several pages and thats before we’ve even produced detailed project plans for each task.
The next step will be to put it all together into a giant master project plan, mapping the relationship and dependencies between tasks – we can’t do this, until that’s completed etc. A marathon session with flip charts, post-it’s and unwieldy spreadsheets beckons…but we know we need to be super organized to stay on top of everything.
To help us manage everything that’s going on and coordinate the efforts of all our volunteers and specialist advisors and suppliers, we’ve decided to employ a member of our group (me, in fact) to work part time on project managing the set up phase over the next few months. Together with our Chair, Vice Chairs and our sub groups, we will be making sure that everything we need to do in order to be ready to open in September 2013.
The summer holidays may appear to be quiet, but things will start to be more visible from early September with all sorts of exciting activity planned to bring the Archer Academy to life.