Thursday 9 June 2011

Z totters

Last night's was a short post, because I was completely distracted by the news I'd had at around 6 o'clock.  I had been making minestrone soup - how is it, by the way, that I never seem to be able to make a small amount of minestrone?  Nearly 8 pints, and I've added more stock to the leftovers today.  I should say, that we packed away a lot of it last night and had more for lunch today.  I left the soup to cook in the bottom oven for a final half hour, poured a glass of wine and came in here to check emails, and found one from the school business manager.  The title was Fwd: Academy Order approval (*name of school*).

Do you know, I almost cried.  A huge smile on my face, I had a swig of wine and read the message.  From her, it just said 'Sent from my iPhone'.  Beneath,  it started "Dear Lynn, I am delighted to tell you that the Secretary of State and Lord Hill have approved your application to convert to academy status."  It was a warm and friendly letter and, I must say, that our project lead at the Department of Education is very helpful and reassuring whenever we get in touch with him.

We are on track, having done a great deal of preliminary work (engaged solicitors, obtaining land deeds, engaged financial, pension and HR services, obtained quotes for insurance, accountants and so on, but there's still a lot to do.  Ironically, the least to do is in school.  The thing is, the school is great.  We have excellent staff who work together really well, an exceptional Head and governors are shrewd and knowledgeable managers who monitor what's going on.  The students are great, and I know that because I go into lessons regularly and get to know them.  We have a very wide curriculum; being in a rural and not a wealthy area, we need to provide both sound academic education as well as arts and vocational courses.  We want to protect this against the push to narrow the curriculum in schools.  We will transfer all the terms and conditions of all the staff (as we're required to do) but, although we could change them afterwards, we do not intend to.  Why would we?

Tonight, I went out for dinner and wore stilettos, for the first time in ages.  Since having my hip done, I've been able to wear heels, though best not everyday, but they've mostly been reasonably substantial; wedges or, at least, chunky.  But I put on my pale pink stilettos, that I bought for Weeza's wedding six years ago (so are practically new, especially as they haven't been worn for three or four years) and they felt comfortable, if I was a little tottery.

All we need now is Ofsted.  Ahem.


Friko said...

I take it congratulations are in order - at least I assume so, not having known about you until you left a message on my blog about your carnivorous squirrels. And there was I , thinking in my innocence of such matters, that squirrels only eat nuts and such like.

Now I like them even less, because I love my birds.

I must find out lots more about you. We rural England bloggers need to stick together.

Z said...

I'm afraid that it's true, squirrels do raid nests for both eggs and baby birds. I didn't think my comment had got through, because I had an error message.

We must indeed stick together!

Z said...

Oh, and thank you for the congratulations. We feel it as an achievement, although there's a lot to do - at the moment it feels more like confirmation of pregnancy than the birth of a baby, let alone its successful bringing-up!

kippy said...

Two pieces of wonderful news:
a. the school
b you can wear fancy shoes again.

Anonymous said...


Dave said...

Yes, congratulations.

I assume it'll be trips on the Orient Express now.

Christopher said...

Well done. No, but really. I think this is a great achievement. I wonder where the first impetus came from?

And as for the pink stilettos...I hope you had pink champagne before dinner? Just to show the world you mean to carry on in the way you started?

The Boy said...

I think its great news too. Good schools need to be local, not running to a London agenda. Like you say, lots of hard work, but worth it. Well worth a night of stilletos I think.

Z said...

No, Dave, we put the money into teaching the pupils, not jaunts and jollies for staff, and the governors receive no bonuses or benefits apart from an occasional meal during a link week, and tea or coffee at meetings. When I'm spending a day in school, I eat lunch there but I pay for it.

I was driving, so didn't even have wine, Chris.

I've spent a couple of hours this morning doing an evaluation so that I'll know how to answer Ofsted's likely questions. It runs to several pages. Now I'm going to slump for a bit with coffee and the papers.

Blue Witch said...

It's a huge responsibility, chanign the future for every child in your area. I know you're up to it. I hope there will always be successors who are too, and who want to take on that role for the right reasons. Time will tell.

I think the current care home saga has a lot of potential parallels with Academies. Give it 10 years...

Z said...

Well, the LA did that when they decided to do away with the middle schools, although no group was in favour of it in their consultation. They have supported Phase 1 schools, but we've managed the changeover (we're in Phase 2, Sept 2012) ourselves, and not needed them. We have good reason to believe that we have done it better, in partnership with our pyramid of schools.

Our intention is to keep things here as they are, not change it. Day to day, each child will notice little if any difference. If we stayed with the LA, the 8% of our pupil allowance that they keep (on top of money for statemented pupils etc) would make all the difference to us and we'd have to narrow our curriculum and make redundancies - which the LA no longer funds.

The difference between a volunteer and someone who is paid to do a job is that the professional can get a new job and walk away, but a volunteer feels responsible for finding someone to take over and seeing him or her through the process. I'm not leaving until I have someone I trust to succeed me.