Now that my first term at Southampton Children's Hospital School is drawing to a close, I have been spending some time reflecting upon my first few weeks in the role of Head of School.
I would like to begin by saying how privileged I feel to be working within this unique and very special place and how delighted I am to be in post. After twenty years of teaching English and leading literacy in secondary schools both in Hampshire and the Midlands, I am able to bring my experience and expertise to a completely new setting and am thoroughly enjoying doing so!
Firstly I would like to thank my dedicated team of teaching and support staff who have welcomed me so warmly to the school and shared their wealth of experience and expertise with me. I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to see them at work with our children, ensuring that their academic progress remains firmly at the heart of the school's work, whilst also meeting the individual needs of each one. We have had many opportunities to share professional dialogues centered around teaching and learning during these weeks and have focused in particular on the areas of effective feedback, marking and personalised learning. I would also like to extend my thanks to the Governing Body, Executive Headteacher of the school and everyone within Jefferys Education Trust who have all been incredibly supportive over my first three months.
In addition to the dedicated and highly skilled teaching team in the school, I am very lucky to be working alongside a range of medical professionals in both Bursledon House and the wards on G-Level, including the newly refurbished Piam Brown ward and the Haemodialysis ward. Again, I have been made to feel extremely welcome and have been in awe of the professionalism and expertise of these teams. I look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that the school is effectively providing the services most needed by the children under our care.
Of course, the most rewarding aspect of the job so far has been meeting and working with the students in every area of the school. They have been utterly delightful! I have been amazed by how cheerful, positive and focused on learning they are, even when facing significant personal challenges. They truly are a lesson to us all! I have enjoyed meeting parents in regular progress meetings and have welcomed their feedback and comments about the strengths of the school and the areas in which we can improve further.
My termly newsletter will detail some of the amazing achievements and activities that have been going on throughout the school since September - please take some time to read it if you can.
I would like to end with wishing you all a very merry Christmas and New Year and repeating my thanks for your support in making my first term such a memorable one.