I was delighted recently to visit Seer Green Church of England Combined School, to rededicate the former schoolmaster's house. This has been turned into a superbly equipped learning support area for groups and individuals, with enhanced facilities for music. There's a huge school choir, where people actually listen to each other and sing (rather than just belting it out until they start coughing up blood — the standard primary school sound). Parents sing together too (is this a first?). Some of them were just back from the Albert Hall. It's not just about singing, though. A large number of children learn individual instruments, and make excellent, joyful use of Djembes — I got a brief lesson. It's really therapeutic exercise for busy bishops!
There's also an excellent praying group of parents and friends supporting the school, with a Pray Station for children to share their thoughts, feelings and prayers around the network. Gaenor Hockey, the local Vicar, is well in around the school.
This is a school where everyone really matters as the person they are. There's careful and focussed Special Needs work, but also a bubbly engaged quality about the whole place, bringing out the best in everyone. Schools in posh areas can easily reflect pushy, selfish, elitist attitudes from their context. Olwyn Oakley and colleagues skilfully hold any such forces of darkness well at bay, keeping things real and making a good school great, in people terms as well as academically.