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Launching the Resilience Award

The launch of the Resilience Award at Leeds East Academy.

Albeit Einstein once said that “adversity introduces a man to himself”. What I think he meant was this: We will only see the true extent of our ability to do great things, when we show resilience in the face of adversity. 

Amazing things happen every day as a result of good planning by competent individuals, working in reasonable conditions. These amazing things should rightly be celebrated when they happen, but, every so often, we must pause and recognise when something extraordinary happens.

After all, history reminds us that some of the greatest things come from adversity: the atrocities of World War II ended with a German scientist helping the US and the Soviet Union begin the exploration of space; the sinking of the Titanic and the huge loss of life that came with it saw the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea being passed in 1914, making passenger ships safer for all, and no doubt saving countless lives in the years since. 

Announcing the launch of a new “Resilience award” at Leeds East Academy, Mr Garner, who sits as a Governor on the Local Accountability Board for the academy as well as heading up its alternative provision; holding responsibility for overseeing the behaviour and progress of some of the most vulnerable students, who are presently being educated off site due to their struggle with mainstream education, said: “I think it is tremendously important to celebrate the efforts of students across the entire academy, who, despite a challenging context: difficult personal lives, emotional and behavioural challenges, are working so hard to better themselves”. 

From today, students at Leeds East Academy will be able to be nominated for the new Resilience award, with the winner selected by Mr Garner each week, if they consistently demonstrate a fearless spirit to succeed, despite overwhelming obstacles in their path. 

Speaking about why this new award is dear to his heart, Mr Garner, who served as a police officer before coming in to education, commented: “Some of the experiences I faced as a police officer exposed some of my own vulnerabilities and I had to get over what seemed liked mountains at the time.

"To some people, some of the challenges I had to overcome during that difficult period may have seemed trivial, but to me they were life changing. It is therefore so important to me that progress, in very difficult circumstances, no matter how small, should be celebrated. This is what the resilience award is about and why it is so important.” 

(Notes: Mr Garner is the alternative provision lead for Leeds East Academy. His role involves managing a cohort of students who are still on roll with Leeds east, but based off site at specialist alternative provisions. Many are at risk of permanent exclusion. These students are based their due to being unable to cope with mainstream education due to SEMH needs, extreme behaviour etc. 

Mr Garner has also been recently appointed as a governor for Leeds East Academy and will be sitting on the local accountability board as of 4th December. 

Mr Garner has an ambitious goal to ensure that none of these students are forgotten about, and that their effort and progress, no matter how small, are celebrated. Mr Garner aims to do all he can to improve the life chances and happiness of these vulnerable students)