Wednesday, 27 February 2013

They have not yet invented a long enough list of colours...

... to describe our school environment at this moment in time.  Every time I walk around the corridors, something new and bright is emerging.  Most recently, the corridor at the end of the key stage 2 building has been irrevocably transformed in readiness for our grand library opening.  Thank you so much to Thomas Docherty, who came along this morning and kept us all in raptures for an hour with his wonderful stories and illustrations.  It is the first (and probably last) time I will spend ten minutes with year 6 debating the spelling of the word "snork".

All joking aside, the environment is transforming into something of which we can be extremely proud, both in its constantly evolving presentation, and in how it represents the wealth of work our children undertake on a daily basis. I went through a huge pile of children's books before half term - which I do regularly - to find that some people are on their fourth book this year.  Fourth!  How hard must they have worked to be on their fourth book?  Furthermore, this does not even begin to reflect the productivity of all our children - including our very youngest - when you consider the general mark making, whiteboard work, note taking, poster designing, ICT based bank of work they create each and every term.

This in turn reflects the planning and assessment the staff undertake regularly, in order to best meet the needs of the children - something, amongst many things, OfSTED praised the school for in November last year.  The staff work incredibly hard to tailor a highly bespoke learning environment and opportunity for every one of our children; those who come to school and work every day, and those who require special attention for whatever reason  but who shall never be turned from our doors.

One of my proudest moments was when the children of key stage 2 independently told three OfSTED inspectors that - yes, this school has children who misbehave - but that the staff work tirelessly and relentlessly to resolve these issues fairly.  The staff at all levels, myself included, work on very simple principles: Aspire - Achieve - Enjoy.  When this does not suffice, it is simple - we follow the procedures and processes laid down by Bristol City Council.  In a time when academisation and federation mean schools are no longer what they once were, we are proud to remain a community school and children's centre, because we know that, ultimately, that is who we proudly serve.

However, this job is not made any easier by confrontation, or gossip, or rumour.  In fact, some of the biggest work we have had to undertake since Christmas has not been around children, or learning, but around parents and keeping staff safe.  Some of the (frankly, ludicrous) pieces of gossip that have been floating around the school community recently have been laughable, but have become issues that have required resolution because adults are all too keen to believe them.  I have had to become all too familiar with the process of referring cases originating from the abuse of social media to the appropriate authorities.  Furthermore. people have trusted things that they have heard outside school more than the answers they have been given in school.  This is not helpful, but - far worse - it is potentially damaging to the quality of service we can offer the most important people in our world - the children.

Please rest assured that every decision we make is reached by following our very simple but oh-so-important principles.  If you have a problem, or you need us, talk to us, calmly and appropriately, and we will move Heaven, Earth and anything else to support your families and yourselves, if and whenever its in our power to do so; even if it isn't, we'll try our best.  But know one thing - if we are to reach the goal of being an outstanding school, it will require every single stakeholder - teacher, parent, governor, visitor, carer, supporter and child - to play their part, and we can only do it together.

I am enormously proud to be the headteacher of this school and children's centre, and I will work tirelessly, for as long as I am making a difference, to get this dynamic, innovative organisation as close to outstanding as  I know how.  If I can work my will, fourth, fifth and sixth books will become the norm, every child every year.  Please, please support us.  If you already do, you do not know the power of the difference you make.

Thank you so much.