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  • sharonbell0

Where did 4 years go?!

Four years ago, I started as Chief Executive of Services For Education and no one could have predicted what lay just around the corner, as the Covid-19 pandemic turned our world upside down. A work anniversary feels like a good moment to pause (very briefly!) and reflect.

Our mission is to ‘bring music and learning to life’ … and we do that in a myriad of ways. In my four years as CE, leadership has been about enabling and supporting the team to deliver that mission, whilst at the same time, along with senior colleagues, plotting a path through the various (often unexpected) situations which arise, and keeping sane along the way! The most obvious was the challenge of the pandemic, and then more recently the broader societal economic challenges. I am quite sure there will be another challenge that we haven’t of just around the corner – because the last few years have taught me a lot about the unpredictability of leadership – but that’s why I love what I do.

In these times I am struck by the fact that leadership is about ensuring we stay true to our vision, creating a culture which enables all colleagues to give of their best, and at the same time, ensuring that SFE is well placed to serve our customers for many years to come. I also know more than ever, that paying attention to my own wellbeing is key, so that I have energy for the adventure. As I mark 4 years with SFE, 4 things to celebrate today:

  1. The 230 incredibly talented and passionate colleagues I get to work with every day – as together we seek to make an impact in the schools and communities of Birmingham and further afield. We have won multiple awards, which is an incredible endorsement of what we do – but meet any one of the team, and you meet the heart of SFE - you can’t fail to be struck by their individual energy and commitment.

  2. Our customers – I am still staggered by the fact that we provide instrumental and vocal lessons to 32,000 children each week and enable incredible performance opportunities through an extensive ensemble portfolio. Add to that our work in early years, specialist settings and retirement villages, we work across the generations! Our talented team of Education Advisors deliver training and consultancy services to school leaders and teachers across Birmingham and beyond, as well as offering delivery specialist projects such as Health For Life – ensuring we are a key part of the education eco-system of the City.

  3. Our funders, networks, supporters and friends across Birmingham. We are grateful to Arts Council England for their ongoing support, and a network of smaller funders whose grants are so important in enabling some of our projects in specialist settings. We are fortunate that our work cuts across the education, charitable and arts sectors – and in a vibrant city such as Birmingham, there are numerous networks, and connections to be made – as collectively we seek to have a positive impact on our communities.

  4. Whilst we have our origins within Birmingham City Council, for over 10 years we have been a stand-alone charity, and we are thankful for our Board of Trustees – up to 10 dedicated individuals who are champions of all that we do, whilst at the same time holding the legal responsibility for our governance. In recent years we have recruited annually, as existing Trustees naturally come to the end of their term of office – so if that’s something that would ever be of interest, do get in touch.

Looking ahead, there are challenges for the charitable sector, and of course we are particularly mindful of our place within arts and education, both regionally and nationally. Added to that the national investment programme for music hubs, and us thinking through our response to the sustainability and digital agendas, whilst still bringing about the cultural change I am passionate about … I don’t think we will get bored!

1 comentário

11 de out. de 2023

Time flies when you're having fun :)

Here's to the next 4 and more... 😊

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