We often reflect, in the run-up to Christmas, about what we are grateful for and as I approach my one year anniversary at Gateway School, I have taken the time to reflect more deeply about what I feel grateful for and appreciate about this wonderful school.
Whilst some new additions have made their way into the curriculum or school environment, there are many embedded aspects that have continued and deserve to be recognised as strengths of the school:
Great pupils who bring their best selves to school every day,who are happy in their learning, demonstrating kindness and empathy.
A talented and committed staff, within and beyond the classroom, who place the children’s care and development at the heart of all they do.
Tailoring the way we work with each pupil so they confidently achieve in all areas.
Encouraging and supportive parents who recognise why Gateway is the best environment for their children.
Warmth, nurture, enjoyment and a tangible buzz from every corner of the school.
An engaging curriculum that encourages curiosity and promotes challenge.
Young citizens prepared for the modern world.
My first year at Gateway has certainly trodden a different path to my former Headships. Having had a fantastic and engaging staff training day on 4th January discussing pupil learning opportunities for the coming term, the Government announcement that evening ensured that my first communication to parents was very different from the one that I had planned. Finding ourselves in a national lockdown with school closures meant that I was in the unusual position of wanting to get to know my new community that was enforceably dispersed.
Fortunately, the excellent staff, pupils, parents and systems at Gateway School seamlessly took charge and remote learning was up and running within 24 hours, home work packs were collected and critical worker children started arriving for their lessons in school. Certainly a well-oiled and impressive machine in action.
The period of remote learning and the subsequent return to school have only cemented my first impressions of the school’s dedicated, talented and enthusiastic staff whose primary desire is to inspire and provide engaging and memorable learning experiences for the children. As a Head and as parents, we are fortunate to be in such safe and caring hands.
I am not sure who was more excited for the start of the Autumn Term, me or the children! The thought of returning to a normal experience with no bubbles or segregation within the school and having parents back on site, was exciting. The first whole school assembly of the term was quite an emotional one. A school is a community and the restrictions placed upon us, for the safety of all, had prevented us from being a true community for some time, so it was wonderful to have this feeling back. This was evidenced further by the tangible positivity experienced at the start of the year ‘Meet the Teacher’ evenings, where parents, too, were experiencing that Gateway spirit of community once more.
As is usual, this term has been a long and busy one, not completely without reminders that covid is still present, but we have been determined to not let it fracture our community where possible. The children and staff have been fantastic and much progress has been made across the school. It was wonderful that we were able to operate successful community events such as the Christmas Fair, the productions and the Carol Service, albeit with a nod to keeping the broader school and home communities safe.
All that remains for me to say, although you already know this, is that Gateway School is a very special place that nurtures, encourages and builds confidence for all our children and there is much to reflect on and celebrate as the ‘Gateway Way’.
Wishing all our Gateway families an enjoyable, safe and restful Christmas and I look forward to welcoming you all back in the New Year.