Oasis National Conference: Serving our students, communities and staff

Steely determination at Oasis Academy Don Valley

Principal James Pape and his team at Oasis Academy Don Valley hosted Oasis Community Learning’s national conference over two days last month.  Titled ‘Securing Good and Beyond’, just under a hundred Oasis leaders including principals, regional leads from Oasis Community Partnerships and Oasis Community Learning national staff gathered together to explore the charity’s vision and strategic vision for the year ahead.

Over the two days attendees engaged with a wide-ranging number of presentations and sessions on issues such as attendance, safeguarding, services sustainability, and the work of the Oasis Community Hubs.

CEO of Oasis Community Learning, John Murphy, opened the Conference by addressing the Conference on the importance of culture for everything that Oasis does.

“We must keep our focus on our goal.  To develop equity and excellence for every student that we serve, so they have the character and skills to follow any path that they choose in life.” 

“To ensure that our culture is present throughout our organisation.  I want every student and every staff member to be valued.  To be celebrated when they do well, and to know that their colleagues and peers deeply and genuinely want the best for them.”

“Being a part of Oasis means that all of us; our pupils, parents, volunteers and staff know that they belong, that they matter even when they make a mistake.”  Our culture should reassert that they don’t have to be fearful, or lack trust, that they can be honest about what they think – ultimately that they can be themselves.”

Oasis Community Learning’s new Director of People and Organisational Development, Dr Becky McKenzie-Young, and Head of Recruitment, Gemma McPhail, explored the recruitment and retention challenge that is facing the education sector and how Oasis is rising to meet that challenge head-on. 

“It is within the Oasis ethos to nurture our people, to support them help them grow.  If we are to serve our children then we need to ensure our teachers and volunteers have development opportunities.”

“We need to proud about what makes Oasis different, about our inclusion and about how we want to work with our communities.”

Chris Chamberlain and Graham Tuck, National Directors for Primary and Secondary phases presented on the Trust Improvement plan, on what it means to be ‘high performing’, and strategies to improve outcomes for pupil attainment.

The attendees enjoyed a live performance from Tonya Bailey, a hugely talented singer and student at Oasis Academy Shirley Park, and had a fantastic presentation from the inspirational young pupils of Oasis Academy Limeside.  The children wowed the audience with the range and depth of their knowledge on many different subjects and extracurricular activities, including philosophy and learning Chinese Mandarin.

Oasis Founder, Rev Steve Chalke MBE, encouraged our leaders for the year ahead by talking about Oasis’s work with communities for over thirty years. 

"It means working with people.  It means understanding that in every community there are wonderful people who really care about that community.  If you can unlock the potential of individuals within a community and work with them - instead of doing things to them or for them, if you can walk the road with them , respect them, be there for them - then that community will live.”