Herts for Learning Annual General Meeting 2020

    Published: 28 September 2020

    Herts for Learning Annual General Meeting 2020

    Herts for Learning’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2020 was hosted at the Hertfordshire Development Centre, Stevenage and held virtually on Livestorm on Wednesday 23 September 2020 at 5pm.

    The AGM provided the opportunity for Herts for Learning’s (HfL) Managing Director, Andrew de Csilléry, and the Chair of the HfL Board, Gavin Flynn, to report to shareholders about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Company and how we have rapidly adapted our services, in order to continue supporting schools and settings throughout this challenging period.

    Gavin presented an update from the Board explaining its role during the COVID pandemic, the focus of the Board both during this unprecedented period and in the future.  He finished by reminding members that we have recently commenced an election process for three primary phase non-executive directors and one special phase non-executive director to join the HfL Board, and he encouraged headteachers and governors from shareholding schools, particularly those who identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic, to consider standing in this election.

    Speaking at the AGM, Andrew noted:

    “Normally, I would be spending most of this speech reflecting on the 12 months to last March and on the exam results of Hertfordshire schools, yet this hardly seems relevant in the midst of such uncertainty, nor indeed is it possible following the exam fiasco of this summer. It is however worth noting that we finished the 2019-20 financial year in a strong position, which set us up very strongly to face the challenges that the COVID-19 crisis has brought. Our reserves provide us with a cushion to help protect jobs and to invest in services that schools and settings need as they welcome children back and seek to minimise the impact of what has been up to six months of lost time in the classroom.”

    The COVID-19 crisis has enabled HfL to accelerate some of our key change initiatives and has helped us to move more rapidly along certain axes of our Strategic Plan.  

    “Our digital agenda has seen a major leap forward, as we have used digital tools for remote working and introduced a new set of online courses and webinars” said Andrew.  “Our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility has also been strengthened as we have had to reduce printing (effectively to zero) and we have massively reduced travel to schools, settings and the office.”

    Feedback from schools and settings to our adapted and new services has been extremely encouraging. Over half of the primary schools in Hertfordshire have chosen to buy one or more modules of ‘Back on Track’, our curriculum and assessment programme specifically designed to help get pupils back on track after such a long break from regular school for so many of them. At the end of summer 2020, HfL led national installs of GSuite for Education for Google through the 2020 DfE Platform Provisioning Programme (almost 100 installs).

    Earlier this year, HfL published a very strong commitment to address the challenges raised by the Black Lives Matter in the light of the shocking murder of George Floyd and countless others who have lost their lives due to unrelenting racial injustices.

    “HfL acknowledges that systemic racism is a problem that must be addressed everywhere. We have a duty to face up to the difficult conversations that ultimately result in the lifting of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) voices” said Andrew. “Looking internally, BAME colleagues are under-represented at all levels of HfL. Sadly, this does reflect the situation in education in Hertfordshire, but it is not something we can accept and are committed to translating that public commitment into action.”

    Despite the COVID crisis, we have continued to push forward with our internal transformation programme, with notably a very significant investment in new systems to replace the legacy finance and HR systems on which we were operating.  This will provide us with better management information and insight to serve more schools and settings more effectively and efficiently.

    The work of HfL would not be possible without the partnership between HfL, Hertfordshire County Council, schools and settings across the county. During the COVID-10 crisis HfL have been working particularly closely with Hertfordshire County Council to continue to support schools and settings, and to help them adapt to the particular demands put on them, and the changing expectations of the Government.

    Andrew concluded his Review by saying:

    “Schools and settings have a choice as to whether or not they use our services, and that we must therefore continue to do all we can to retain their support, becoming even more “customer-centric”.  It is only in doing so that we can ensure that every child across Hertfordshire has access to a great education, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.”

    For further details about the 2020 AGM, including a full transcript of the Managing Director’s Review, and the slides presented by the Chair, please visit the Shareholder Information page.