I just took my son to his primary school for the last time this morning. He had his leavers’ assembly yesterday and the sports day was the day before that. He seems okay with all this. No tears or complaints. A little moan about the weather not being sunny today when it should be bright and cheerful to see them all off.
The school has been brilliant. In distant times, when my daughter left the same school for example, there were some really disastrous leavers assemblies. How to celebrate your years in primary school and welcome the move to pastures new? With a You Tube video, complete with doom laden American voice over reminiscent of those cold war information films, warning how our children must work ever harder to combat the menacing challenge of the Chinese economic powerhouse on our borders? There were tears. And the kids were upset as well. I’m surprised there weren’t serious complaints to the Local Authority. It was a catalyst for me taking a more active role in the governing body.
The new head has a much more upbeat approach. The day is emotional enough without winding it up with mawkish end of an era speeches and ceremonies that go on for two or more hours, reducing ten and eleven year olds to heaps of mush. He has a celebratory approach and he has released the teachers to be joyful in encouraging the children to remember their time and achievements positively. To cement friendships and build a firmer foundation for their move to the future. A short, positive, joyous celebration of seven years of shared challenge, triumph and laughter. Spot on.
Of course there will be challenges. Nobody is hiding their head. But the way to meet this is with a raised spirit and a smile over that firm chin, not with gritted teeth and words of doom echoing in your head.
So well done to the head, the management team and the staff. And most of all to the children who said how they wanted to celebrate their time together, and pulled it all together in rapid time and superb order. Good humour and jokes and mutual support and recognition abounded.
So now they are all right, can someone put a parents leaving assembly on for me please? I hate endings and after 13 years association with the school I suddenly have no reason to go back. Having sent two children through the school, having been a governor and chair of governors, my wife having been secretary of the PTA, I suddenly find myself a complete outsider.
Maybe my son will help me celebrate the past and the future. Football and model aircraft and playing with toy tanks beckon. I’m feeling a bit better already.