Monday, 12 October 2009

H for Learning

Of course, learning should be life-long. I do hope I never lose interest and curiosity and a wish to find out new things. Even when I'm in my dotage with no memory, it would be rather nice if my eagerness for the new is still there - after all, with so much forgotten, there would be so much to be surprised by, even if I lost it again within moments.

But today was the official opening of the new age for learning in our village school. The Bishop came (it's a voluntary aided church school) and lots of people who've been involved here, in one way or another. There was a former headteacher, a past chairman of governors (well, three of us) and the present head of the high school. Actually, it was a fairly select bunch and I was rather chuffed to be included.

Afterwards, I had a good and interesting talk with the Local Authority chap who's liaised between the schools involved in the whole project, 36 of them. It all started in 2001, and we were both at the first meeting - he was a headteacher himself then, and it was only upon his retirement from that when he was invited to apply for his present job. We've always got on well and, although he really is retiring soon, he is making sure that there are good prospects for future projects here.

Actually, I must thank and commend (though I rather trust none of them will read this) everybody who was involved in the new building of . It was first set up as a PFI (Private Finance Initiative) by the government, as a way of injecting a lot of cash into school building while never having to fork out the capital costs itself, but paying a lot of money, in the long run, to the consortium involved. The reasoning was to avoid it show up on the public borrowing figures (yes, I delved until I found that out). However, this folded when the consortium ran low on funds, so the government and local authority had to take it over in the end. The LA, with the help of Norwich churches education trust (not saying its proper title because of google) where relevant, have kept faith with all the schools involved and given everything that was promised. Finally, the project is nearing its end, with the last schools moving into their new premises within the next year. It has been a fine job, many of the schools involved are small village ones (ours is a 75 pupil school at present, although it will become 90 when there is another classroom built for two further year groups) and several are smaller than that. Ours, like some others, didn't have a school hall so the children had to do gym in the village hall. End of term assemblies and school plays and concerts were held in the church. A piece of land is leased by the village church for use by the school as a playing field. Even at that, rooms had to multi-task - a folding screen was taken back at lunchtime so that two classrooms were made into the dining hall. There was a mobile classroom, so children had to come outside and into the main building to use the cloakrooms and lavatories.

To tell the truth, we all loved that school. I'll miss it. But all the same, this is better in so many ways. It's wonderful. I'm writing to thank the head now.


Dave said...

Nothing to add, so am waving at Scarlet the cow instead.

Z said...

She sends you a big sloppy kiss Dave, and thanks for the cauliflower (I told her it was from you).

Marion said...

The trend here in my state is to do away with all small schools and consolidate into just a few large ones.Over much local protest, it was done anyway. I believe the smallest elementary school in this county now has @400 students. Kids are sometimes on the schoolbus at 7AM. Most parents are now driving kids to school. Kids at your small schools are fortunate