St Andrew’s Maghull Church of England Primary School’s philosophy of ‘education for life, not for tests’ provides a unique and welcoming environment for its pupils. In a school which encourages inventing, experimenting, taking risks and making mistakes, we spoke to its headteacher, Sue Kerwin to understand more about how this primary school operates during a typical week.
All days start the same way, outside, rain or shine, greeting the children and parents as they come into school. A new initiative this year has been the introduction of junior Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), combatting dangerous and irresponsible parking. A group of children were trained by Merseyside Police, and each morning they patrol with me to promote safety outside our school. Then it’s straight to assembly, a special time when the whole community comes together. We use this time to introduce our Christian Values and set the tone for the week. At St Andrews it is a key part of our approach – education for life, not tests.
I usually call in to Breakfast Club and sit with the children for a bacon sandwich, and have been known to join the ping-pong tournament! I also chat with the cook to report the children’s feedback about school dinners. This week I’m spending the morning with a headteacher colleague, discussing joint staff training opportunities and collaborative work.
Today is special – Year 2 are having a medieval day, complete with knights, princesses and a bouncy castle! We welcome parents at every occasion, and today they’re joining their children to make castles. After the formal banquet, there’s dancing and jousting (with hobby horses and foam jousting sticks!) We also share our days and special events with our community on Twitter (@StAndrewsCoE). A change of pace for staff meeting after school, where there is always an important initiative to discuss – today we’re looking at Mastery in the New Curriculum ensuring all children are challenged to do their very best.
Thursdays start with Nick, our vicar, leading whole-school worship. The children love to see him, and he chats with staff and shares in school life. A key part of my job is meeting with parents, to celebrate successes, as a shoulder to cry on, or sometimes to nip a problem in the bud. After a particularly difficult meeting I like to go to Reception, where the children insist on taking me on the pirate ship or playing in the mud kitchen. To them, being the headteacher just means I have the best ideas for games. Thursdays end with a smile, as I run Lego club for Year 3. I value this as a chance to work one-on-one with the children, encouraging team-working and is an opportunity for the children to build a relationship with me, generally assisting with my building skills!
First thing in the morning I meet my Assistant Headteachers and Office Manager, to co-ordinate diaries for next week and share important information, such as common assessment framework (CAF)s, special educational needs and disability (SEND) issues, etc. I spend the morning writing the newsletter which is one of my favourite things to do, as it celebrates all the great things that happen every week. This week was a particular highlight, as I got to announce our hard-earned Early Years Quality Mark, a national recognition for excellent practice. Friday assembly ends the week – certificates and awards are given out and, hopefully, the children head off into the weekend happy and valued.
Whatever the difficulties it really is the best job in the world!