A sneak preview of Today.
There are times when no words are needed.
I am currently on a residential visit with our year six pupils at Peak Venture, near Barnsley. There was a howling wind as I ventured outside early this morning for my usual walk. I was met with all manner of weather and it would be fair to say it was a wee bit chilly. I even managed to appreciate some rather stinging sleet!
I was thinking about the things I have seen the children achieve during the first two days of our visit. I have seen the quieter more reserved children show great courage when climbing to a great height and admired their determination to push themselves to their limit. It has been a privilege to see the children tackle things they have never done before and it has been clear to me that their resilience and determination has grown.
The greatest part of watching children learning is when you see them having fun and they are sharing experience and knowledge with their peers. This particular group have been very good at being positive and encouraging their friends when things are tough.
I particularly enjoyed watching them during the activities this morning.
We would not be Norbridge if we did not do it differently and set ourselves personal challenges. So what better way to end the year with a stroll across the North Yorkshire Moors! The Lyke Wake Walk is 42 miles in length and the idea is to cross the distance in under 24 hours.
We completed the crossing in 20 hours and we had seven members set off. We have always lost one or two in previous crossings but this time all seven starters completed the crossing, an amazing effort. We took a few snaps to give you an idea of the trip.
As a footnote, I fell over. quite comprehensively resulting in badly bruised pride. I remain convinced there a couple of smiles as people strolled to my aid! I had an amazing time and had a varied menu of luxury food items at the check points!
It has been a month since our Ofsted inspection and our school is going about the business it should in the right way. The experience has given me some time to reflect on the team of people I work with and what they do. The thing that fascinates me the most is the level of commitment from the people in our group.
If there is a camping experience or a 24 hour Blogathon or we have a charity disco, the attendance of the staff is always high. In many places a list of names is on the board and people offer their time and service, not here! We have never had a list of names in our staffroom, people just turn up in big numbers. The attitude of the team as a whole group makes it a great place to be.
One of the key strengths is the ability and willingness of the people to work together for the good of the children. People collaborate and share ideas freely in a supportive way. The result is great experiences and outcomes for the children.
An interesting part of the work each class is doing at the moment is raising money for their own class charities. The children have come up with their own ideas about raising funds and our theme this year is a year of giving. Each class are going to raise as much as they can during this year and see who can raise the most for their chosen charity. It has been wonderful to see the children collaborate with each of their peers to work towards a common goal.
Every child has the chance to contribute their time and effort to the charity work and no contribution or idea, no matter how big or small is belittled. It shows no individual has a monopoly on what makes a good idea and the children work in the true spirit of partnership and collaboration. A really great idea is a really great idea no matter who came up with it. A good example of this is when we took an idea from a twitter user named Deputy Mitchell who used blogging to transform writing in a high number of schools. We saw this work as a great idea and we adopted it and modified it. The impact has been significant in our school. This is was and still is a great idea, its ok that it was not our own.
High quality collaboration within a framework of mutual trust has proved to be the backbone of our success here. Where it fails is when there is little trust, a culture of self interest and on occasion, bullying. After 10 years of headship, I have learned not to be afraid to use the great ideas of others and lend a hand if asked. I have seen enough to know that its all about integrity and mutual trust. If this is not there, progress can’t be made.
I am humbled by the efforts of our team and I respect them all as professionals. They don’t pour out rhetoric and try to be something they are not. They work as hard as they can and give everything to ensuring our children get the best experience possible in our school, leading to them achieving well. It is the greatest group of people I have ever worked with.