What a week! On Monday morning I came into school brim full of emotion as it was to be my last week with you all as head teacher. However, there was to be no wallowing in that as shortly after nine o’clock the long awaited phone call from inspectors finally came and we were thrown into the whirlwind that is inspection for schools.

I was immediately surrounded and supported by a team of staff and parents ready to tidy, organise, sort and help in any way possible. Sophia (Benji), Rachel (Gabriel) and Lydia (Nick and Katie) set to with clearing the mess and muddle that accumulate in the school over the term. Rachel also did a swift risk assessment and health and safety check with me in her governor role. Mandi, Sarah and Alison sorted files and put my muddled paperwork in order (thank goodness as this is vital ‘evidence’), and John calmly and determinedly repaired, painted and tidied whatever would benefit from a quick fix! Meanwhile teaching staff stayed to ridiculous times in the evenings to prepare, and Simon (our cleaner) put in extra time to polish and shine. Jack made scrumptious food so that our energy levels remained high, and by Wednesday morning we were ‘ship shape’ and ready for our two inspectors.

In the meantime you and your children had all been responding to the request to complete the online standard questionnaires that are sent out for inspection. A HUGE thank you to you all for doing this. The inspectors were both surprised and impressed by the quantity they received and by your overwhelming support and praise for the school and what we do. It was the first thing that they said to us, and gave us such strength through what is a very challenging process.

Our two inspectors were efficient and business like as expected. They also did their best to take us through the rigorous process with humanity and compassion. They were genuinely interested in the school and our approach, and amused by the children’s comments and self-assurance. During the inspection Sarah was a key player in liaising with inspectors and providing them with key documents. She worked until all hours of the night amending policies and creating forms etc. to ensure compliance. She showed extraordinary stamina and determination.

We received the feedback yesterday afternoon but we are not allowed to tell you. I know that this goes against the open and honest way that we work, but I’m afraid that it’s the system. You will have to wait for about six weeks. It is tricky for staff – so perhaps it’s as well that we have a holiday now!

It was quite an extraordinary way to finish as head. The love and support that I have received in my role have been amazing. I couldn’t have wished for more. I leave my post with reluctance but also with confidence that the school will flourish with Alison as interim head and a team of hard working and dedicated staff, an active, supportive and talented parent body, and the most wonderful children we could ever wish for. What special memories I have…..

Have a wonderful spring break. Signing out as head with love to you all, Linda

A sincere thank you to Joanna for her dedication and creative direction in supporting the Y5 play. It was a suitably surreal and enjoyable performance! Linda and I had spent the week saying that we should make a sitcom out of the experience of a small, independent school going through inspection. To sit back and watch with parents and children from across the school as our wonderful Y5 children entertained us with their unique brand of physical theatre, the structure and script enhanced with their own personal flourishes, was an experience not to be missed. It made the perfect wrap-up scene to our sitcom, full of warmth and humour. Roll credits. Sarah