29th June 2022
Dear Parents and Governors,
I am amazed that a full academic year has passed since I began my role as school governor at Eastling. It has been a steep learning curve for me and one which in the main I have enjoyed very much.
Almost as soon as my term began, we were visited by Ofsted. Thankfully my fellow governors were well equipped to see this process through, and I was truly impressed with the way that the staff and governors worked together to support each other.
This sense of mutual support impressed me then and continues to impress me as I become more familiar with school life. Help has always been on hand for me as I’ve tried to get to grips with subject visits, use of IT systems, school protocol, governor training all the things that enable governors to fulfil their roles. But, the sense of support is bigger than just about how I have been helped, and it is this that has impressed me most.
I have been fortunate to have been able to visit the school as they have moved cautiously away from the strictures imposed by Covid. I attended the harvest festival service and witnessed how enthusiastically and how speedily the children rallied together to present a delightful service. And it was hard to remember, that for some of the children who were participating, this was their first experience of school life in the classroom. Those children were included wholeheartedly in the service and were clearly supported and encouraged not only by their teachers, but also by pupils in other years.
As, I have visited the school to see the children at work, I have seen how carefully their teachers lead and encourage them and how eagerly the children themselves are willing to support and help others in the classroom. They have genuine concern for all others around them, including the visiting governor!
This idea of inclusion was made paramount when I was invited to witness the opening of the Joey Memorial Garden. The care and love that the staff, children and wider community have put into this little sanctuary is so moving. Each year group has been responsible for a ‘garden’ within it, and I was struck as to how objectively they judged each other’s efforts. The little gardens were all beautiful in different ways, but the children were complimenting each other’s efforts some even professing that “although they really liked their own, they preferred another year’s efforts”.
I commented upon this to a fellow governor and their response echoed my feelings. Like me they felt that at Eastling School, the staff and pupils really did care for each other’s wellbeing. As a school, they collectively work to look after each other.
The memorial garden is a delightful addition to the school playground but to me, it seemed more like a symbol of how the school nurtures and encourages everyone. The school and community worked so hard to make the garden a worthy tribute to a little boy who is still one of their own. This sense of ownership and community has become so apparent to me as I have completed this first year as a school governor.
I am looking forward to continuing my governor learning journey in the next academic year. I know the children and staff are looking forward to the summer holidays. I wish all of them and their families a much-deserved break.