Thursday, 25 May 2017

Pools of the stuff, flowing merrily

I have been mulling this blog over for a few weeks now, and its subject matter finally struck me on the way to work on Monday morning.  The subsequent events in Manchester on Monday evening have brought it into even sharper relief, and therefore it seems only fitting and natural that I give it a try.

Just a moment on Manchester: naturally, my heartfelt condolences to all those affected, especially parents.  Know this – on Tuesday morning, the parents of Badock’s Wood stood squarely with you.  Let me put it this way – it isn’t every day a Polish father hugs you in the middle of the main road, and although he is an indecently handsome man, thank goodness for that.  The people of your city have shown the world what it is to react in love and compassion, not in hatred and revenge, and for that, you have my undying respect.

On my way to work on Monday, I was, as is often the case, thinking about the day ahead. I got to thinking about my impending assembly, the final one on the topic of perseverance and commitment, and I was struck by the irony of delivering such a topic to a community and a group of people who are already showing almost inexhaustible pools of the stuff

Furthermore, you all know the story by now: we’re having a bit of a year of it, having gone into an OfSTED category and then being hurled into the uncertainty of the forced academies programme.  As a result, you might well expect that it is exactly at times such as this when communities or groups quietly and painfully implode, and struggle to call upon pools of the resources mentioned above.  But do you know what? Not a bit of it.

So, when thinking about “the old p&c” (as no-one calls them, ever) I was struck by how amazing the school has been in these respects lately.  Wouldn’t it be clever if the remainder of this blog were given over to some good examples thereof…?

The staff, despite the challenges thrown their way by recent events, have responded magnificently.  Yes, there have been a few hiccups, a few frank / terse discussions, and a little too much rumour, but over all the staff have been simply superb.  How do we know?  It’s in some of the larger things – i.e. they all keep turning up, no I mean it, really – that then transform into the smaller, almost unseen things, such as the cool collection with which we have just blas√©-d our way through a national test window, the way our curriculum is for ever growing, and the way our children are immaculately cared for.  When it comes to perseverance and commitment, and rugged determination, grit and “give it some”, then our staff have demonstrated it in spades, and then some.

The community have continued their unswerving support of the school during this period, and continue to go from strength to strength.  Our friends association, the Buddies, have not only grown in number, but have also diversified their spectrum of activity, and there is now a friendly scrimmage for ice lollies at the end of each Friday as our buddies sell them with the broadest of smiles.  Already massive events are planned for the summer, such as our Fayre (and a massive party – watch this space).  Once again however, it is the unseen, the invisible, but the oh-so important.  The kind words offered to staff in need.  The support on trips and events.  Believe it or not, uniform and attendance are getting better and better.  

Above all, the buzz around the place is just wonderful.

The pay off in all of this is that the quality of the experience improves for children.  But, hey, they’re doing it for themselves anyway.  The sheer determination and passion shown by our children in recent weeks has been humbling, never so more than in SATs week, when we had some of our best attendance for the year to date.  Not only year 6, but also the way year 2 have applied themselves has been astounding.  In all year groups, children are producing work of which they are rightly proud.  But it neither starts nor ends at the classroom door.

It goes so much further, wider and deeper.  Our choir not only blew the school away in assembly a few weeks ago, but also took their place amongst all the other schools at the first major rehearsal this week, having learned a staggering array of complicated and complex songs with ease.  Whilst they have been learning those, the rest of us are mastering Sgt Pepper, in its entirety (no easy feat, as I’m sure you can imagine).  However, we now have year 6 harmonising to She’s Leaving Home with year 1, and almost every child word perfect on Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

We have continued enjoying a wide range of trips, and reaping the benefits.  However, I’m not telling you that to be smug or owt, I’m telling you because, after one year 5 trip (but also after much of the school had been), we received an email from the hosts saying how stunning our children are, how wonderfully they behaved and how epic are staff are.  Thanks.  We know.  But we do appreciate being told.  Doesn’t sound like a school languishing in the doldrums does it?

On the subject of emails to school, I arrived a few Fridays ago to a beautiful email from a former reading volunteer who had heard one of our children speak at a school funding rally the evening before, and was in awe, as we often our of our friend in year 5, who made the speech everyone is talking about.  As ever, when people seem to be keen on hearing what’s going wrong, stuff is sort of going right, actually, thanks very much.

Far from needing assemblies about perseverance and commitment, people seem to be full of the stuff, and getting on with things quite merrily.  I’ve said it before and, you’ve guessed it, I’m about to say it again: aren’t we lucky?  Aren’t we lucky to work among so much good will, so much determination, so much energy, so much passion, so much ….. just so much?
How lucky am I?

From a proud head’s office, for term 5, that is all.