Friday 30th December - Farewell to the year
There are lots of things that could be said about 2016. Some call it an 'annus horribilis', others a 'year to forget' and no doubt for someone, the best year of their life. This blog has seen the best of both sides of the year. It has explored the loss that so many people have experienced through 2016 in my blogs about David Bowie, my friend Michael and the legendary (yet unheard of) Sharon Jones. It has been a year of interesting decisions and political changes too but that isn't what this blog will focus on. No, instead this blog is going to take an unusual view of 2016: it is going to focus on the positives that our school has experienced in 2016.
So this blog, my last of 2016, will focus on the successes that we have had as a school and the things that I am most proud of. I have managed (just about) to narrow it down to 5 things but to say it was a difficult decision is an understatement.
So, here goes...
I am a firm believer that results are only a tiny part of a school and how successful it is (and this makes me unusual compared to some Heads). However the last academic year which culminated in the SATs in 2016 was one of huge change at an unprecedented rate. Amidst this turmoil our pupils achieved very well in both Year 2 and Year 6 compared to both the local and national pictures. We were proud of the results, but more proud of the pupils and how well they did.
4. Continued improvement
In November we had our annual Internal Review which was very positive and showed that the school has continued to improve over the last 12 months. The review highlighted that teaching over time is good across the school and that pupils across the school are making good progress. What I am even more proud of is that the staff aren't quite satisfied with the improvements we have made and are keen for our school to continue to improve further in the future. I know for a fact that it will continue to improve and can't wait to see these improvements (and their impact on pupils' learning) in the future.
Over the past couple of years as our school has been on a journey of vast improvement I have visited many schools to see the excellent things that they are doing. This year became a real turning point for us in the sense that we went from being a school that visited others to gain ideas to a school that other people visited to gain ideas. We have had people visit from lots of schools to see our approaches to teaching reading, our curriculum and our values amongst other things. We are proud of the fact that we are now in a position to support other schools and share the expertise that we have developed on our journey.
2.Primary School of the Year 2016
In July we were named Primary School of the Year in the 2016 Cambridge News Education Awards. Put simply, the recognition for everything that our team has achieved meant a lot to us.
1. The team
We have started the 2016-17 academic year with what I consider to be the best team of people we have had in the 5 years that I have worked at Coupals. The team of people in our school right now are the hardest working, most committed and open minded teachers we have ever had teach our pupils. Their dedication and determination to teach well, and to continue learning new ways to teacher better, is inspiring and is a huge benefit to the pupils in our school. This year has seen us begin the school year with teachers who have just completed the first term of their teaching careers. What has been wonderful to see is them developing and blossoming in to very strong teachers and to see them being supported by the rest of the team who have been keen to share their expertise in the interest of developing the next generation of excellent teachers. Not only are they incredibly hard working but they also have an exceptional sense of humour (evident in the flyposting of my office which has occurred more than once this year) which make working at Coupals a fantastic experience everyday. There has not been a single day this year when I have not looked forward to going to work and I am proud and privileged to lead the fantastic Coupals team.
There were, of course, many other things that were successful that simply couldn't fit in to this blog and I am sure that if you were to ask any member of the Coupals team they would have a slightly different top 5. The bottom line however is this: 2016 was a great year for our school.
The good news is that success won't be a rarity for our school. 2017 is already shaping up as an exciting year with work on our new building starting in January along with the launch of a new curriculum which will provide our children with amazing opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of the world. 2016 was full of excitement and success of things that we hadn't dreamed of this time last year. So which successes will I be reflecting on this time next year? It's hard to say. But it will be an exciting journey to get there...
Happy New Year and here's to a successful 2017 for our staff, pupils and families.