It’s the 1st July-half way through the year but nearing the end of the academic year. Only 3 weeks left and it is probably, for me, the hardest 3 weeks of the year. This isn’t because of the bonkers work load (although bonkers is the appropriate word) it is because it is time to say goodbye to our lovely Year 6 children. I know that they need to move on and them being ready to leave Primary School means that we have done our job well and they are ready for the next exciting stage of their learning journey; but I still find it hard. These are children and families that we have grown to know and love over many years. From starting as little 4 year olds, feeling nervous, sometimes clinging desperately to mum’s hand to becoming big 11 year olds who undertake leadership roles, scale cliff faces and depths of caves (quite literally)and can eloquently express themselves and their learning journey. Our Y6 children are set to be Y7 students in 3 months’ time.
As the Y11s in our local Secondary Schools finished for good last week, it struck me that these Y11s were my penultimate class as a teacher. I had taught them in my first year as a deputy head in a new school where they were the first ever Y4 class in a growing school. They were trailblazers who set the tone for the future. I have said in previous blogs how important relationships are and this particular class will always hold a very special place in my heart. Seeing them last week in their prom outfits and reading some of their thank you cards to teachers pulled at my heart strings. I am incredibly proud of the responsible citizens they have become.
As our Y11s and Y6s wave good bye, leaving us with a tear in our eyes, we look forward to welcoming new children as they join us in September. The opportunity presents itself to create new, equally valuable and strong relationships. This happens quickly at my school through what Stephen Covey refers to as the speed of trust. We all work hard to quickly form relationships based on our culture of children first. Everything we do is based upon what difference this will make to our children and their learning. As Steve Margetts from Torquay Academy reminded us this week-there is nothing more important than learning. I agree. We are a school and learning is at the forefront of everything we do and yet without forming those relationships learning doesn’t happen as quickly as it could.
At the start of each year, we spend time as staff and with children discussing ‘The St Anne’s way’. We are clear about our high expectations and we aim to be relentlessly consistent whilst remaining relentlessly kind in all areas of school life. This is what helps us form positive relationships. Sometimes, as the year progresses, we forget the expectations that we were so clear about in September. We don’t forget the importance of good relationships but maybe we don’t spend enough time continuing to remind everyone of their importance. To we retain this important focus there are 3 things we will continue to focus upon next year…
- Learning is the most important thing.
- Learning is more effective and memorable when built upon relationships. Therefore we need work even smarter to strengthen our relationships through quality conversations, positive phone calls home and our open-door policy.
- To ‘reset’ our expectations of each other, our children and our families throughout the year not just in September.
There will be some tears from us all over the next few weeks as we say our goodbyes combined with an excitement that through our new MAT we will continue to keep in contact with our youngsters and be proud of our alumni. This is combined with the eagerness of a chance to form new relationships with new children, new classes and new staff. We have this amazing opportunity every year. We really are blessed to be working in such an honourable profession where our everyday relationships really do matter.