What a Year!
Well who would have thought that our maiden year of being at Shireland Technology Primary would bring the both the opportunities and challenges that it has? Who would have thought when we opened the doors last September and invited our first cohort of children and families to join us, that we would have had to close them half way through; temporarily re-open; train teachers to ‘virtually teach’ and then close the doors again at the end of the year to enable us to move across to our brand new building for September 2020?
What a year indeed!
But despite this we have achieved so very much.
From embedding approaches such as Kinetic Letters and Numicon, to enhancing dynamic teaching using SMART technologies, and from improving communication with families with Class Dojo (especially through the Pandemic) to the huge success of Friday Enrichment afternoons, I think the one aspect we are most proud of and means the most is the relationship we have built with our families.
Over the first part of the year we worked hard with families and their children to help them settle and to allay any fears they may have had; but the bond with them grew even stronger through the last four months as the Pandemic struck and together we were there to support each other. We had such lovely appreciation messages from families that inspired and motivated us further.
“Maximising the Advantage”
One of the wonderful things about working for the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust is that we are always looking to improve, tweak and develop new approaches and look for opportunities that allow us to continue to move forwards so we can do the best for our children.
And this did not stop for COVID-19.
What you will not be aware of is that when Coronavirus hit and schools shut, the staff across all of our schools, Secondary and Primary, looked at, to coin our CEO, Sir Mark’s phrase, how we could ‘maximise the advantage’ and plan ahead. The time we had with lockdown and no onsite schooling other than for those children of our amazing key workers, we have used to prepare for our next academic year and beyond.
The time enabled us to collaborate and work even more closely the staff of our colleagues at the other Trust primaries; Tameside and Holyhead Primary Academies in Wednesbury, West Midlands.
As well as the online Active Learning Videos and Home Learning set, we had teams of staff from across the three primaries preparing resources, planning new themes, developing new programmes to enrich our children’s learning and develop their ‘cultural capital’; there was staff training on new approaches and projects and training for the new staff joining in September.
Our staff NEVER stopped working!
I am incredibly proud of our staff, who despite the challenges faced, endeavoured to provide a first-class education and teaching, as well as prepare for the coming new year in our new building. I am lucky to have the most amazing team who are passionate, talented, and committed to providing our children with the very best education that can be provided by any school. They strive for, and to be, the best and care hugely for our children; wanting to make a difference to each one of them.
I want to say a very big thank you to each of the team – both class-based and those who work to keep the school-machine well oiled. They are #TeamShireland through and through and I am honoured to lead them.
A personal thanks must also go to the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust team who have guided, advised, and supported all the Trust schools through this unprecedented time. They have been there at the side-lines every step of the way making sure that we could still teach, support, advise and care for both our staff and children.
Finally, I think all of us at Shireland Technology Primary; staff, pupils and families owe a debt of gratitude to Mr Irish, the Principal of our secondary, Shireland Collegiate Academy. He allowed us to open Shireland Technology Primary this year temporarily in his own brand-new building for Key Stage Three, whilst ours was being built. This act of generosity allowed us to open a year earlier than intended and his teams have supported with graciousness and enthusiasm.
So, what a year indeed – may be one to be forgotten OR may be one to be remembered!
Bring on 2020 /2021!! We are ready for you!!