I write to introduce myself as the new CEO of the Galileo Trust, the organisation to which your son or daughter’s school belongs. It is an ‘interesting’ time to start such an important role, not least because I have been unable to come to your schools, or meet colleagues and pupils in person.

My name is Jane Spence, I have worked in education my whole career in a wide range of roles, most recently leading an academy trust serving areas of significant and complex challenge in Newcastle and Sunderland, prior to that I was Head of Academies at the Department for Education. I began my career teaching, where I quickly became aware of the inequalities and lack of opportunity faced by the students in my care. It was apparent to me then as a young teacher, that education was the only thing that could really change the course of lives, and I have been committed to this ever since.

I want the very best for every child across all the schools in our Trust, whatever their interests or talents. Every school and every child is different and that is really important, however high expectations are the same for everyone, whether a pupil or member of staff. There is much to be gained working in partnership across our schools, sharing expertise and knowledge is good for children and colleagues alike.

As a parent of school aged children myself, I completely understand the challenges and worries brought about by coronavirus, including the impact on their education. Pupil welfare will always be the Trust’s first priority and keeping children learning is an important part of that. Whether they are able to be in school at the moment, or if they are learning at home, we appreciate your support as parents and carers and we in turn will do everything we can to make sure your children continue to thrive.

Although we’re at the beginning of another national lockdown, we must look forward and plan for a recovery and a bright future for all our children and wider school communities. I very much look forward to getting to know everyone across the Trust as soon as it is safely possible.

Best wishes for the new year,

Jane Spence