Over the last week I have had cause to visit Blewbury Primary School on two occasions and each time I have left feeling rather impressed and proud.
As a “Link Governor” for Class 6 I was privileged to be invited to watch the making of a radio programme, and with the help of their teacher, Becky Costello and production expert Jack Mills, was captivated by the creativity and sheer enjoyment the class showed in creating timetables, playlists, agendas and articles for the broadcast. The material the class produced was fresh and current and their delivery could put some seasoned broadcasters to shame. Moreover, nobody was left behind as there was enough diversity in the task to appeal to every pupils’ interests. Importantly, this kind of learning shows the lateral thinking taken by the school in tackling the educational agenda and putting it in a real world scenario.
Which brings me nicely to my second visit…
January 19th saw the school host a “Curriculum Evening”, not a box ticking exercise showing parents what their children will be doing in the terms to come, but instead an insight into the mindset of the school. The progressive attitude of Blewbury School was demonstrated admirably in adopting a philosophy which challenges the way we think. “Children love challenges” we are told by the school head Marion Mills, and in a series of video backed presentations parents are shown the methodology behind the teaching. The school believes that all children’s abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point! Parents are encouraged to praise effort and motivation and try to get their children to view themselves as learners. We are told that when our children say they cannot do something, the key response is – you cannot do something “yet”. Surely a life lesson for all of us! Workshops followed where parents could understand the roles of Science, IT and Spelling (including a difficult test for the parents, which we were not prepared for!), and the evening concluded with a powerful message on protecting children from the dark side of the internet, underlining how seriously the school takes all aspects of safeguarding.
Next week I am looking forward to travelling with twelve of the year 6 radio broadcasting team to Cheltenham to visit a recording studio where their hard work will be transformed into a professional piece… watch this space for a memorable link. No doubt it will be the third time I will leave feeling impressed and proud.
Michael Evans Class 6 link Governor and parent