This school is, humanly speaking, an ideal size of about 100. Everybody really knows everybody else and it feels as though people really do muck in together here to get the best out of each other. The school is wonderfully well in with the village, both historically, and in creative contemporary ways. I noticed the school had arranged with builders of some new houses locally for small groups of children to go and visit regularly and see how houses are built — brilliant! I’d love to have done that when I was 8/9/10!
I was impressed by the Christian learning going on. Year 5 children had been working on Chagall images of the Crucifixion, producing their own, countering the tendency in lesser schools to telescope holy week into an Easter Bunny thang.
The School Council has also been working and consulting on a school prayer for everyone, and there has been really good sustained work to build children’s environmental awarenss in an Eco-school. David Kaboleh, local Vicar, is a frequent and friendly visitor. I liked the kindness tree where various good deeds were recorded, shared and celebrated as leaves on a tree.
I did see something I’ve not seen before, however, behind the Staff room door, with its elegant Simian theme. Jo Garlick and colleagues work closely together, to deliver their school improvement plan. There’s nothing crypto about learning strategy — it's there for everyone to see in the hall. But the staff have a mini version of the School Improvement Plan on the staff room wall. People, including children, use post-its when they undertake work, different colours for different groups (children, staff, governors, parents) and stick them into the whole scheme of what’s going on.
By doing this everybody can relate what they’re doing in the here and now to the broader strategy.
- Everybody can see that they’re part of the whole work of the school, and how.
- Everybody can see where the gaps are, in any given term.