A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 5 February 2020

In our 2018-19 annual report, we celebrate E-ACT people who are an inspiration to us all. Without exception, each of these unsung heroes have shown just how important it is to live our E-ACT values in everything we do.

Our unsung heroes have shown an unwavering commitment to ensuring our academies are always supported, encouraged and given the support they need.

Emma Dunkley, Mark Franzoni, Sian Glover and Gemma Haynes, DSLV

Here we meet four DSLV academy staff whose bravery in the face of great adversity saved the life of a student at the academy last year. Assistant Headteacher Mark Franzoni explains what happened.

“A student at our academy has an extensive list of allergies which means that our staff must be hyper vigilant to signs of an allergic reaction. Earlier this year, she suffered from an allergic reaction at an athletic event and our PE team had to administer her EpiPen. After this incident, our Individual Health Care Plan Lead Gemma Haynes briefed staff to ensure that we were all aware of the student’s triggers, the symptoms of an allergic reaction and the medication she requires.

Just a few weeks later, the student was in a science lesson when she noticed that she was having difficulty swallowing. Her teacher Emma Dunkley immediately called down to the academy office for support from receptionist and first-aider, Sian Glover. Although we had administered her EpiPen, the student’s symptoms continued to worsen and she was struggling to breathe. At that point, Emma decided that we should call an ambulance.

There was about to be a lesson change, so we had to make sure the corridor leading off from the classroom where the student was being kept remained clear. I was suddenly informed that I needed to bring the defibrillator as a second EpiPen had been administered but wasn’t having any effect.

We were understandably getting very worried. There were tears in the eyes of the student’s friends and we knew the situation had become very serious. The ambulance still hadn’t arrived, so the paramedics began talking us through preparations for CPR over the phone.

I couldn’t pick up a pulse, there was no sign of breathing and the student remained unresponsive. Gemma and I, with the support of Sian and Emma, started administering mouth-to-mouth and CPR. After about a minute and a half, we suddenly felt movement and the student started to stir. The paramedic on the phone instructed us to stop the CPR and to put her into the recovery position – it was at that moment that the paramedics arrived.

Despite the student’s long list of allergies and the difficulties that they cause her, she just gets on with life and she’s brilliant at everything she does.”

Wendy Davenport, The Oldham Academy North

Wendy has worked at The Oldham Academy North since it first opened in 2010, and according to her colleagues she is the backbone of the academy. As well as carrying out her own full-time role of catering assistant and premises cleaner, she is always offering to help others and has built fantastic relationships with both students and staff.

This year, Wendy stepped in to assist the art department when they were without an art technician, helping students to prepare for their final exam. Wendy can also be counted on to offer students suffering from exam stress emotional support. Her impact on the student body could perhaps most be felt during last summer’s Year 11 farewell assembly, when students could be heard chanting her name. Wendy also happens to be the only member of staff that students are glad to see on the dance floor at the Year 11 prom!

Wendy has always gone above and beyond to support the academy’s most vulnerable students, from noticing when students need clean uniforms to ensuring that all female students have access to the hygiene products they require. During breaks, she looks out for changes in students’ eating patterns or behaviour, and even outside of academy, Wendy is keen to remind students that they represent The Oldham Academy North at all times.

Colleagues note that Wendy is always smiling and is keen to pitch in and be part of the academy team. Her work exemplifies our values of doing the right thing and team spirit and she takes great pride in her role. We’re delighted that Wendy, a true unsung hero of 2018-19, was this year awarded the E-ACT Staff Values Award for Showing Team Spirit at the trust’s National Celebration Event.

Karen Hayns, Bourne End E-ACT Academy

Our Academy Ambassadors are people who share a great passion for their academies. They might be an academy parent, a member of staff or even a community member, and it is through their active involvement in academy life that they support our pupils by helping to provide them with inspiring opportunities.

Here we meet one of our Academy Ambassador unsung heroes, Karen Haynes, who together with her team organised an inspirational World of Work event for students at Bourne End Academy in 2019.

“As Bourne End Academy only joined E-ACT in September 2018, our ambassador group is relatively new. We formed in January 2019 and at that time there was only four of us. I was keen that we didn’t become a committee that just got together to have discussions and not really make an impact. Very quickly, we made the decision that we were going to use the two terms left in the academic year to do something special.

We decided to put on a careers fair, which we dubbed the World of Work event. We’re lucky to have our own networks, as well as Bourne End parents in business that we could call on to come and exhibit for the students.

I don’t know how we pulled it all together so quickly, but the event was a huge success! We had over 200 people turn up, with great attendance from Year 10 students in particular. This was a real positive for us as these were the students who were about to embark upon their final year of key stage 4, so it was great to be able to give them ideas for the future.

Starting our academy ambassador journey with a big project helped us to figure out our different strengths and what each of us could bring to the group. It was also a good way of getting to know how E-ACT works and it put us in touch with helpful people in the national team.

As a working parent, being an Academy Ambassador is my way of giving back. I care about education – I’ve been back in education myself as an adult and I really value it. I don’t think that will ever leave me.

I think the good work that we’ve already done is down to each of us. Even though I may be the chair, it’s just another role in the group. Everyone in our team does their bit and works hard to come up with great ideas and keep that momentum going. We’re already looking forward to getting stuck in next year.”

You can read about the rest of our unsung heroes here:

E-ACT Annual Report 2018-19