Interview with Alison Colenso

Alison Colenso has been appointed Interim Director of Education for the academic year 2023-2024. Mrs Colenso will step into Laura Gregory’s shoes whilst away on a year’s sabbatical. We caught up with Mrs Colenso ahead of her starting in June 2023 to get to know her a little better.

What do you think it is exciting about the BPET vision, for all children to Learn, Enjoy, Succeed?

That it’s all about the pupils. I know that this is true about all schools, but at BPET it is so clear and engrained in everything the trust does that, to me, it provides a wonderful framework to work with. Also, each of those words – Learn, Enjoy, Succeed – is as key as the others, providing a virtual cycle of positivity where the vision is always centre stage.

What are you looking to bring to BPET schools?

The BPET vision is so embedded in me since my days as Headteacher at Deer Park School that it feels like coming home but with a difference, which is my experience at Ofsted, and the growth of the trust which now supports ten schools. So, in answer to your question ‘old eyes but fresh eyes’! Having visited so many schools in various kinds of settings, I know what excellent looks like and how it can be achieved.

How will your experience at Ofsted feed into your role?

All schools can improve, even the ones judged Outstanding. While at Ofsted, I supported leaders through the inspection process and identified areas of strength as well as areas where the school could improve. I wasn’t able to drive school improvement beyond the physical inspection though and this is what I am really looking forward to as interim director of education at BPET – supporting each school on their improvement journey and ensuring all pupils get the best possible education.

What are your priorities for supporting BPET teaching staff in their role?

Relationships are important, and getting to know what motivates people on a human level is key. Knowing individual’s hopes, goals and aspirations and how to support them in achieving these is essential. We are all working towards the same vision of ensuring exceptional outcomes for the pupils and communities we serve. Ensuring everyone has clarity and commitment for how their role fits in to this will be an important part of my role feeding into the wider trust strategy.

Improving outcomes for children is my passion. I want every single child to have the best opportunities and reach their potential. Making sure our staff are listened to, motivated, and cared for is an integral cog in the wheel.