Introduction from Kirsten Harrison, Director of Education, Gloucestershire County Council
I am delighted to be joining GCC as the new Director of Education.
After 32 years working in schools, starting my education career in Wiltshire as an English Teacher and going on to work in Lancashire, West Yorkshire and then coming into Gloucestershire in 2004. In Gloucestershire I have worked in three different secondary schools in the west and south of the county as well as Gloucester city, leading two of those schools as Headteacher.
I have worked as a South West region Ofsted Inspector for 6 years as well as serving as the Chair of the 15 Gloucester City schools’ heads’ cluster, the Vice Chair and Chair of the Gloucestershire Association of Secondary Heads; sitting on Schools Forum and serving on the governing body of my children’s primary school, the management committee of an alternative provision setting and on a range of Local Authority working groups; all of which I hope, illustrates that education and working for children and young people has been my life’s work and it is an absolute privilege to undertake this role to continue to do so.
Everyone recognises that the last 18 months has been tough for us all, but it has presented particular challenges for our children and young people. They have had to cope with school closure, learning in new ways receiving lessons on-line and for those facing GCSEs and A levels, they have had to cope with all the uncertainty around exam cancellation and then Teacher Assessed Tasks to determine their final grades. Children and Young people have faced isolation and loneliness, uncertainty about their futures, reduced access to exercise and their usual social activities and the mixed benefits and concerns by increased online activity. It is so pleasing, therefore, to see our children back in school and to see the enthusiasm with which children have returned this September to work with their teachers on their recovery curriculums and to get back to ‘normal’ schooling with as little impact from the ongoing pandemic as schools and other settings can manage.
Our children and young people have shown their resilience and adaptability and we are all working together to support them to achieve success in all its different forms despite the challenges the last 18 months have presented.