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An Evening with School Governors for Newtownabbey Empowering Schools Together (NEST)

Earlier this year, school partners involved in the Newtownabbey Empowering Schools Together (NEST) partnership identified a number of key priorities for what felt like a key upcoming period for the network. Among the key priorities was to widen the scope of the partnership beyond school leaders; to key members of school staff teams, and also to Boards of Governors.

CRIS subsequently worked together with school leaders from NEST partner schools to invite members from their Board of Governors to an evening together in Mossley Mill on Wednesday 9th November. The evening was framed around building collegiality across school communities, sharing details of the NEST journey to date, and consulting with Governors on the direction that the partnership is going in.

CRIS delivered a presentation on the journey so far - as a way of sharing insights and key learning points from the work that we have carried out together over the last number of years. More importantly however, considerable space and time was dedicated to Governors connecting with each other, sharing their own insights and experiences, and inputting into the partnership's current and upcoming plans.

It was energising to see such a diverse range of experience in the room on the evening, all engaged and making or growing connections across the community. 10 NEST schools in total were represented on the evening - including 20 Governors and 7 school leaders.

Feedback from the evening was extremely positive and encouraging. The need for work like this to continue and to grow is evident. Comments included "Keep up the good work! I really hope that this initiative does develop a lot more," and "I would like more governor events to be held more regularly."

CRIS will now consult with school partners on next steps - to ensure that this event remains a meaningful one for NEST schools in the medium to long term.

We are extremely grateful to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for the ongoing and fundamental support that they provide to the NEST partnership.

The work that we are doing together in the NEST partnership is based on CRIS’s GRACE (Good Relations and Collaborative Education) Model.

More information about any of the above, or this particular piece of work can be made available through contact with Gerard at CRIS on

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