We hope you, your families and loved ones are safe and healthy. We wanted to update you on the School for Change Agents 2020 in light of the Coronavirus crisis, and make an ask of you.

We had been working on a 1st June 2020 launch-date for the next season of School.  But the world has changed dramatically since we originally planned on that basis.

Many of you will be right at the heart of this crisis, directly treating people with Coronavirus, or supporting those who do.  Whatever your role, whether it is in healthcare or other public services, what you do and what your priorities are will have been radically altered in the last few months. For NHS Horizons, some of our clinical colleagues have returned to roles at the point-of-care. And nearly all of our work is now focused on supporting the national response effort.

In such a climate it would be inappropriate to run the School for Change Agents as we have in previous years. And yet, many of the concepts and ideas from School are in evidence at this time: from shifting power dynamics and self-organising teams, to people using their Story of Self to motivate others into action (even if that action is simply to stay at home). We know too that School offers a space where these experiences can be grounded in theory and shared among like-minded individuals. So, we have a plan.

“What’s the best thing you’ve learned about storms?” / “That they end” said the horse.
– Charlie Mackesy

We believe that the School for Change Agents has an important role to play during the ‘recovery’ phase of this crisis. Coming together as a massive, open, online community can help our NHS people to make sense of what has happened. It will also give much-needed support to those who want to learn more about how to embed, or even expand, some of the positive transformations in public services that have arisen as a result of this crisis.

We also know that there are communities far wider than the NHS that are responding to the Coronavirus challenge, from other statutory services, charities and informal mutual aid groups. Too often we’ve talked about the need for the NHS to work with these communities as equals. Too often that stated ambition doesn’t match the reality. So, we’ve committed to inviting everyone who is responding to Coronavirus to be members of the School for Change Agents community: to teach us as much as to learn from us. If we all learn together, we will build relationships and create networks that will truly integrate health into the rest of our society.

Our ‘ask’ of our School community

To prepare for launching the School for Change Agents later this year, we need to revisit our case studies and the stories we use as examples. We want to make them as relevant as possible to people’s current experiences.

  • Are you using an idea from the School for Change Agents to inform your current work?
  • Have you noticed a key concept from School (new/old power; movement-based leadership; Public Narrative) impacting on your experience of the Coronavirus response?
  • Has something happened recently, when you saw an opportunity to use an approach from School? Did you and others take that opportunity?

If so, we want to hear from you. Our ask is for NHS employees, other health and care practitioners, patients, members of the public and our global community. Your example doesn’t have to be “big” or “important”. It just needs to be authentic and offer learning for others.

If you have a story to share, please drop us an email at england.si-horizons@nhs.net. We’ll then contact you to see if there’s a way we can incorporate your experience into the design of the School for Change Agents 2020.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Please stay safe.

All the team at Horizons.