Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Our fantastic school at the heart of our community....

We have been through a tough time as a community in recent months our treasured primary school appeared on the council’s proposed list of school closures and was put forward to go through a consultation process with the possible closure planned to happen in October this year.

As parents we were thrown into turmoil, to see little ones in tears at night about the thought of losing their school, wondering how the staff would manage to carry on with Christmas pantomimes and planned school trips, when the future lay ahead of them in an uncertain light, daring to imagine the worst scenario and how it would impact on our children’s education and on our community, which has seen a gradual erosion of facilities over the past few years.
At our primary school, the children, encouraged and led by the staff, have taken ownership of their school and its surroundings. Having set targets, they enlisted the help of parents, members of the local community and local businesses and we soon found ourselves involved in their planned days of action. The children worked with the community painting, digging, fencing, planting and of course enjoying refreshments, and the grounds were developed into a large, welcoming space for imaginary play, complete with a recycled Wendy house and a climbing wall. An active learning area was created, with raised beds, where the children now grow their own produce, developing and learning about the mini eco system surrounding their raised beds, a gardening club is run by a local couple, who have a fantastic horticultural knowledge. One poly tunnel got demolished by the strong gales; a sturdier model lies in the shed awaiting the go ahead to be constructed. A nature area encourages wildlife and many species of birds to visit our school. The children have made bird feeders, with the help of visiting specialists from the RSPB; nesting boxes have been erected with cameras inside so the children can watch, from their laptops, as nesting inhabitants nurture their young.
Kids show support!
Across the road from the school grounds there is a path leading to woodland and a nature trail leading past several Lochs. The children regularly go on nature walks. In the late summer they collect brambles, returning to school to weigh them, the pre fives bake scones, P1-4 bake bread and P5-7 make the bramble jelly, and then having completed their sums around this project, and having learnt about the related health and hygiene of food preparation, the whole school have a huge feast from their pickings and labours, leaving school with healthy happy smiling faces.
islay_lifeboat
As parents we are regularly invited to workshops with our children, to participate in their learning, as they guide us through presentations and scenarios on topics such as first aid and healthy living. Many of the fathers are on the RNLI crew; one father is the coxswain. The close proximity of the school to the lifeboat station means these dads are able to participate fully in their children’s education, carrying their pagers with them, they attend assemblies and workshops, safe in the knowledge they can be at the life boat in a moment’s notice.

We are incredibly fortunate; we have a strong and committed leader, an enthusiastic and dedicated staff, our school building is in a very good condition. Our HMIe report was glowing; the Child Care Commission inspection led to the school gaining two excellent marks, Gaelic is taught to every year group. The school has exceeded targets set in reading, writing and maths. The smaller school roll means that our children get valued one to one time with their teachers, that they are part of a strong community where they mix freely across the age ranges, the older ones looking out for the younger members. Each child has their own learning log, in which they share their success and achievements, note the areas they wish to work on and list their next steps. The school is an achieving school, in so many ways.

Why then, when they have something so right could the council consider closing this school down?
Over the past few weeks we have had visits from various councillors and an MP.

On Thursday we got the wonderful news that Keills primary school has been removed from the list of proposed school closures….

Until next time….

18 comments:

Fennie said...

Very well done! It sounds a delightful school - a model for others. It's a lovely story you tell, Posie. I'm sure it deserves wider circulation.

Posie said...

Fennie, thank you for your lovely comment. We have worked so hard to save the school and the children threw a surprise party for us on Friday to say thank you, from them and the staff. It really is the most special school, with wonderful staff and the pupils just shine because they are nurtured and encouraged there, we are very grateful. Posie

Elizabethd said...

I'm sure when a whole community comes together like that it must be of wonderful benefit. Your school must not be allowed to close, it sounds a very rounded place of learning.

mollygolver said...

Brilliant news Posie, that your little school has been saved. It sounds such a lovely school - nobody in their right mind would even think about wanting to close it! I agree with Fennie - this story certainly does deserve wider circulation

Jan said...

Such good news for all concerned. It must have been a very stressful time and thank goodness the battle has been won.

Pondside said...

Alleluia - good news!
It sounds like your school is a model that should be copied all over. I'm so glad that your children aren't faced with the closure for now.

Tattie Weasle said...

What wonderful news keep spreading it it definitley deserves a wider audience!

Pondside said...

Me again - please see my blog for news - I'll need your mailing address, if you'd send it via the email on my profile page!

Frances said...

Posie, this post was filled with information and affection. Bravo to all who are involved with this marvelous school.

I'd think that right now might be a good time to use this recent victory to encourage some level of education bureaucracy to take clear look at your school, and to "learn" from all it can teach other areas.

xo

Norma Murray said...

Rosie, I am so pleased such a wonderful learning environment has been saved. Your local school must be the perfect place for real education to take place, not just the leaping through hoops that is so often foistered on children nowadays.

Preseli Mags said...

Well thank goodness common sense (that most uncommon of things) prevailed. Congratulations to all involved in what sounds a lovely school community.

funkymonkey said...

Great news. Looks like someone has shown some commonsense for a change. You'll be able to see your children and others flourish in such a wonderful school.

Tracey

Posie said...

Thank you all for your positive and supportive comments. I have taken your advice on the wider audience and have posted the blog on www.islayinfo.com this is a fantastic website all about our lovely island, and it has a much wider audience. I am thinking of sending the blog as a letter to the newspaper as well. We need to celebrate and also share our fantastic school with the wider community. Posie

Pipany said...

What a great story Posie. We had a similar thing happen near us but we didn't manage to save the school. Luckily a new one opened and I must admit it was a better one in the long run. Enjoy your week x

jane said...

Posie - such wonderful news that Keills primary school is off that closure list - such perseverence from all parties has paid off! well done - your blog is certainly written from the heart x

muummmmeeeeee...... said...

Just shows the power of a determined community!

Your island sounds idyllic and an amazing place for children to grow - all you really need is Waitrose and you'll be all set!

Jose Ramon Santana Vazquez said...

...traigo
sangre
de
la
tarde
herida
en
la
mano
y
una
vela
de
mi
corazón
para
invitarte
y
darte
este
alma
que
viene
para
compartir
contigo
tu
bello
blog
con
un
ramillete
de
oro
y
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dentro...


desde mis
HORAS ROTAS
Y AULA DE PAZ


COMPARTIENDO ILUSION
POSIE

CON saludos de la luna al
reflejarse en el mar de la
poesía...




ESPERO SEAN DE VUESTRO AGRADO EL POST POETIZADO DE MONOCULO NOMBRE DE LA ROSA, ALBATROS GLADIATOR, ACEBO CUMBRES BORRASCOSAS, ENEMIGO A LAS PUERTAS, CACHORRO, FANTASMA DE LA OPERA, BLADE RUUNER ,CHOCOLATE Y CREPUSCULO 1 Y2.

José
Ramón...

Ticking stripes said...

Wonderful news. As a chair of governors I know how hard some of these changes can be. Well done to your ocmmunity!