23rd June 2013
Apologies first of all for the lack of blogs over the last few weeks. May and June are incredibly busy months in school and seem to get busier each year- or maybe it is just my advancing years. We have had 2 spells away at school camp, summer fairs, sports days, reports to write, end of year assemblies to consider, sponsored events- add to that the Athelstaneford Open Garden afternoon, for which my large garden was supposed to be weed-free, and you may understand why the blog had to be sacrificed for a couple of Sundays.
Since this is probably the last of the session, I would like to dedicate it to the staff. They do try my patience at times! BUT….as a team they are the best. I know that many of you appreciate the efforts they make on behalf of your children- you tell us so and it is very welcome. There are many aspects of school life that are not seen by parents and perhaps not appreciated. Events like school camp, sports days, sponsored events do not happen without a considerable amount of planning and forethought. That is often done at staff meetings before or after school. This involves staff having to arrange busy schedules at home to accommodate demands in school- in my two years at Humbie and Saltoun, no one has ever said no to a request to put in extra time for these.
Schools are expected to have “champions” for various subjects- Literacy and Numeracy coordinators, Eco Committee, Forest Schools leaders, Walk to School week/Junior Road Safety officers, pupil council leaders, coordinators for the themed weeks- Health/Science/Book week etc. In large schools there is scope to spread the load in terms of these responsibilities and each member of staff would do no more than one. In our schools, there is no room for manoeuvre and staff take on all of these roles gladly- Karen Prudence in Humbie has more hats than the Queen!
The supply situation this year has been tricky, but staff have stepped up and voluntarily covered for colleagues even if it meant rearranging their planned day. The alternative for this would have been to send children home if cover was unavailable. Our staff are unfailingly adaptable and prepared to be flexible in approach. They do this for the good of the schools but also because they are committed to the children in their care.
100% of end-of-year reports went out on time- I read them all, they contained more information and were more detailed than agreed, but staff felt they wanted to give as much information as possible to parents. As usual I was impressed by the depth of knowledge about the children. It is disappointing that, so far, less then 50% of parents have acknowledged receipt of the reports- that is a wee nag but the only one for this week!
If you were at sports day this week you would have seen a good team in action- everyone knew what their job was and had done it in good time, so as not to let the side down. Of course we do not get it right all the time- as has already been pointed out to us- we could have had the children sitting in the shade in the afternoon- but we do learn from our mistakes and listen constructively to criticism. As head teacher, I can only hope that the children pick up on the ethos of team-spirit and commitment to a common goal. Speaking as a shared head teacher, the staff are very understanding of my flitting in and out like a demented bag lady- no one complains about my bursting into classrooms to interrupt lessons to say “I’m here” or “I’m away”. Often they will deal with things in my absence and always keep me up to speed on what has been happening while I have been in the “other place“.
And finally- they always laugh at my terrible jokes- even though they know it only encourages me to tell more.
My personal thanks to all the staff at Humbie and Saltoun- you do a great job; you have planned another good year for 2013/14; I look forward to helping you to carry it through.
Have a great last week,