Last January I took up the post as executive headteacher at

Last January I took up the post as executive headteacher at UWPF. I recall before I started that people said that I was mad, the CEO in the Trust I worked in called me into her office and asked me whether I really wanted to take on such a role – “…in small schools you have to juggle so much and be an expert in everything.” She wasn’t wrong.
Day one of the job and I was determined to stay optimistic, leading the staff training day and sharing a vision I had for learning. People seemed enthused and keen – great.
Day two and Ofsted arrives and every half term between January and July we have an inspection – exhausting. But despite the stresses of inspections, of making these four small schools sustainable, the one thing that kept me going throughout was the children.
Anyone who spends time in one of our schools, even just for a day, will know that they are special and unique. The children are amazing. They have the ability to question, to challenge, to engage and create. They know how they want to bring about change in the world through the campaigns they organise and the projects they undertake. They sing, they dance and they are wonderful are looking after one another.
Last year we shared our vision, which is underpinned by one simple phrase ‘be the light’. Every time I lead collective worship I ask the children what this means to them. They say things like ‘be the best you can be’ or ‘be a beacon for others’ or as one little reception girl said ‘shine brightly’.
I know that parents are worried in these uncertain times, some are worried about the impact this will have on their child’s education but I want to say this: stay calm, laugh, play, paint, walk, look up at the skies and find out about random things like where on earth do silverfish come from? Above all, keep the light.
Do not worry about your child getting behind because our fantastic team will help your children get back on track, I know this because we have such a diverse team of people who are amazing at what they do. We are four small schools but we beat together as one and that’s what makes us stronger.
At 7pm every Friday we will shine our torches up in the sky and even though we may not see you, we know you are there. I made the best decision to come to the Dales even though I haven’t grown those extra arms yet!
Have strength and hope. And keep shining…brightly.