Meet one of the founding members of the Charter Trust
A group of Media students from The Charter School North Dulwich met with one of the Trust’s Members, Manny Amadi to talk about his long involvement with the Trust and its schools, first as a school Governor, then as a Trustee and now as a Member.
Eve Judet, Indy Meager and Alara May have been working on a practical project as part of their course based on producing an article for a local newspaper and the interview forms part of that project. You can read their interview with Manny in the next few pages.
We had the pleasure of talking to Emmanuel (Manny) Amadi MVO, a Member at The Charter Schools Educational Trust, and who has been involved in Governance at both Charter North and East Dulwich for over 20 years.
We wanted to find out why he felt being a school governor was so important, and how he has made a life-long impact on the local schools and the lives of their students. He spent time outlining the importance of his role and why it is vital people keep volunteering as school governors to allow our local schools to progress and improve our community.
Manny is a Member of the Trust and until recently served as a Trustee. He explained what a trustee role was, highlighting that they oversee the ‘core mission’ of the multi-academy trust, which is ultimately to keep improving the quality of education in the schools. His role is a voluntary one and although it can be full-on and challenging, he explained that it is worth it through the sheer amount of impact it has.
When asking Manny about why he got involved in his role with the Trust, originally at The Charter School North Dulwich, he told us that he was inspired by the ‘vision’ of the school which was to serve everyone in the community. His main encouragement, he tells us, was that ‘at the heart of it would be excellence for all’ which ensured he was going to be helping his local community. Furthermore, he believed he had to stay involved as he had made a promise to parents that this would be a great school and he felt the need to follow through with his commitment- hence why The Charter School East Dulwich was later founded.
When asking Manny what he is most proud of amongst all his achievements, he replied that it is what the Trust has achieved. He is proud of the way that all the schools within the Trust teach their students, and support their students and teachers. There are now six schools in the Trust, and all the schools and their teachers can collaborate with each other and learn from other schools. Each school is committed to the concept of “inclusion,” making sure every student feels included and noticed, as well as staff. All the Trust schools strive for this as it reflects the values of the Trust. This attitude helps students “strive for excellence.”
We wanted to find out about how Manny juggled this commitment alongside family and work, and he simply described that he felt the motivation to help the schools was enough to make things work. He argued that we may not see the benefits that he gets out of being a volunteer, but as he put it you ‘get as much as you give’ and there is ‘so much benefit and value for being a part of this journey.’ However, it can be ‘full-on and hard’ and in those times you must be disciplined and manage your time carefully.
At a young age, Manny was awarded an MVO, which is an abbreviation of “Member of the Victorian order”. He was awarded this honour after working hard as a director of the Prince’s Trust for many years. The Prince’s Trust is a global network of charities founded by King Charles that specifically work towards helping the lives of young people and transforming communities.
We asked him what he would say to someone who is considering becoming a governor or trustee. His immediate response was ‘definitely do it,’ as it is an enriching experience and he would ‘do it again in a heartbeat.’ However, he added that you need to be well organised and hard-working as it requires much attention in order to have maximum benefit.
When asking Manny about the potential challenges and opportunities that are still available for these schools, he said that although schools are struggling in terms of funding, there are so many opportunities that we are faced with. For example, he outlined the greatest opportunities the schools have is the ability to keep learning and keep improving. He continued to say that ‘perfection doesn’t exist’ and schools should therefore keep aiming to improve in every way possible and the best way to learn is through each other.
Manny stated that there are both many challenges and opportunities for young people today, such as social media, which can be very distracting and harmful to mental health, but also help young people
to communicate with one another and contact others. It can also open doors for careers and help young people to have an influence in society. Similarly, advancements in technology means there are many more careers options available, and technology and the internet cover a broad number of interests. The rapidly changing world can be seen as both a boost and an obstacle for young people today.
When we asked him what makes a great school governor, Manny replied that a combination of commitment and connection with the job were key. You have to be skilled; you have to want to help the school progress and improve, and most importantly you have to keep your promises with the ‘rich opportunity’ being a local governor provides you with.
Throughout our conversation with Manny, we learnt the importance of being a governor and how it can greatly impact the local community and the lives of its young people. Being a governor has also had a significant impact on Manny- it brought him lots of responsibility but with that a huge learning experience in which he was able to help offer support and help to our schools.