Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Confidence and Inclusivity in Amersham

Old Amersham has all kinds of virtues — In Georgian days, before such things were evened out, the Drakes (as in Sir Francis) made Amersham the richest job in Bucks. Today it's got a different kind of richness and variety — near London (on the Tube) yet fit feels like a market town in the rural Chilterns, with glorious historic plant, a great range of people in a focussed historic community. It’s often struck me how St Mary’s gets the basics of being Church right. St Mary’s is heaving with people of a Sunday morning, enabled by Tim Harper’s energy, commitment, skill and flair. It’s high energy but not pushy, traditional but not stuffy — a great place to go to Church.

I was at Saint Mary’s School, to open a new ICT suite. This will enable whole classes to work together and individually at ICT and other projects, with the latest gizmos. It’s a busy, ambitious, popular school, knocking up against its top admissions limits, having maintained a really broad and inclusive admissions policy. There’s a great sense of shared purpose between Julie Hills, a head with drive, and governors led by Susan Pounce. As well as enhancing the school’s ICT provision Saint Mary’s has renewed some basic infrastructure, loos, staff room, teaching areas. When Amersham Church did a major Community Passion play last year, all sorts of community groups took sections of the story, and I was really impressed by the confidence and skill of the children from St Mary’s. It was great to get some sense of the people and the place, partly, from which they get it!

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