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ICKFORD SCHOOL GOVERNORS’ NEWSLETTER, SUMMER 20201

Apparently, there is a Chinese curse which says, “May you live in interesting times…” and whether we like it or not, these last 16 months have certainly been ‘interesting’.  For the governors of Ickford school it has been the first year in which we have not been able to visit the school, to meet the children of the school and to meet you, the parents.  We are all hopeful that some kind of normality might return in September but ahead of that, we wanted to send you our thoughts on this year.

At the time of writing, many of you will once again be living through ‘crisis schooling’ as parents of our first burst bubble.  Of course, the discussions around how to manage remote schooling has loomed large in our meetings this year.  It is our firm belief that while no school can offer a solution which will always meet the needs of every family, the staff have endeavoured to provide the best quality provision possible.  There were many factors to consider here.  Providing a curriculum which could be delivered by parents who were already living in stressful conditions in which the academic progress of children of different stages and ages could be accommodated is no mean feat.  In some households there were multiple schools ‘beaming in’ to devices which were already required for parents who were home working.  In many households’ parents were having to fit their work in before the children woke in the mornings or after their bedtimes.  Getting it right for every child is a Sisyphean challenge and we hope it is a situation we will not have to return to.

It has been a delight to see the school thriving and buzzing with life for many months of this year.  While many schools are contending with numerous anxieties amongst the student body, we see largely happy pupils in high spirits, glad to be with their friends.  This is certainly borne out by the parent survey in which 94% of respondents say their child is happy at school and well looked after.  This is a testament not only to the staff, but also to the parents who work alongside the school to ensure that children feel that the classroom is where they want to be!

Thank you to those parents who found the time to fill in the survey.  It has been hugely beneficial to see your views and to read many glowing responses.  As expected, the support for the school and the teachers was quite overwhelming.  We have also gleaned some very useful feedback in terms of how you would like school to better meet your needs – one area flagged was greater communication with us, the governors…  and so, your wish is our command!  We will be sending out this newsletter on a regular basis and you can contact us anytime at our direct email address ickfordgovernors@gmail.com

We will also be holding regular ‘Meet The Governor’ events in the Ickford Pavillion so that you can come along and have a chat with us, put faces to names and enjoy a cup of tea!  Dates to follow…

We have been particularly impressed by the continuing provision of different opportunities for the children of Ickford school.  In a year where many schools are doubling literacy and numeracy lessons at the expense of a rich and varied curriculum, the children are still able to partake in a wide range of experiences.  Thanks to the Mrs Shackleton, music has continued throughout, and the children will experience their summer concert.  Thanks to some strategic thinking and some quick booking (!) we have been able to see the children involved with various trips this year including a ramble through Wendover Woods and a fabulous activity day at Longridge for Year 6.  Sport has continued, theatre has continued, language learning has continued.  This is all a testament to the staff and the resolute leadership of the school.  While it has been a year with some huge challenges, it has also been a year with some huge successes.

In signing off then, we would like to express our gratitude to the staff and leadership of Ickford School.  Teachers are like actors; they perform their roles in the public sphere to a packed house.  They keep their ‘stage faces’ on and continue until the performance is over.  As governors we have been privy to the backstage pressures (which this year have been huge) and to see them give such a masterful performance against the odds has been incredible.  As we all know, teachers in this current climate are expected to produce the earth, without any resources.  It seems to us that the academic results, the smiling faces, and the wealth of rich experiences are proof that these teachers are giving their all in this performance! Thank you also to you, the parents, for your continued support of the school.  We are (as much as we might be tired of this phrase!) ‘all in this together’ and without your constant co-operation and support, things wouldn’t be able to run as smoothly as they do.  All the governors also feel it is important to extend our thanks to the community of Ickford, so many of whom are hugely supportive of the school; whether it be through attending our events, lending a hand with landscaping, or just keeping a watchful eye on the premises, ensuring the school is safe.  This truly is a community school at the heart of the village.

And so, summer is upon us.  Enjoy these six weeks, whatever they may bring us, and we look forward to seeing you in September.