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Headteacher's Blog: Reflections On My First Year At Edenhurst

Posted on 10th Jul 2019 by Michael Hibbert

It is a tradition at Edenhurst for the Head to do a review of the year in the final Newsletter.  Whilst reflecting on this, I couldn’t help but link it to my first year of Headship.  I think that this is unavoidable because one of the things that no-one tells you when you embark on this most frightening and exciting of journeys is just how personal it is.  It becomes so much more than a job.  This could not be more true for me.  I fell in love with Edenhurst about a year and a half ago and I feel this more strongly today.  But what makes this such a special school?  The answer is both simple and complicated, but ultimately it boils down to one thing - the people.

The children who attend this school are delightful.  Getting to know them and spending time talking to them has been a real highlight for me.  Watching their amazing performances at the Carol Service, the Spring Concert, the Form Plays and Blast Off, filled me with a level of pride I never imagined possible. Watching our children compete on the sports field and in Quizzes has tested the strength of my heart.  I have ridden their roller-coaster emotions with them, relishing their successes and learning with them in their failures.

Mrs Hibbert and I don’t have children of our own (human ones anyway) but the children of Edenhurst have more than filled this void.  I have enjoyed the most lovely conversations, daily, and with a wide variety of children and this has always been the best part of any day. 

Prep 6, you will always be my first Prep 6 and I will never forget you - that photo in my office is going nowhere for now.  I know that you will do us proud at your next schools - they are lucky to have you!

The Edenhurst family - in this I include mums and dads and ex-pupils (and mums and dads who are ex-pupils!)  Many schools use ‘family feel’ as a strapline in a marketing brief. At Edenhurst we live it. The generous way that Mrs Hibbert and I have been welcomed into this community has me lost for words.  When taking on this job I was most concerned about being judged against Mr Copestick - with whom I could never compete. I can honestly say that this fear was completely unfounded. I have been accepted for who I am - a third-generation gold miner who is living out his dream of being a headteacher.   

I would be remiss not to thank our EPTA for all their hard work and assistance, ably led by Deborah Ware.  There is also an unsung hero who I would like to embarrass at this time - Mr Kirkbride who tirelessly works to improve the experience for all of our children, mostly in his free time and always for free. 

The third group of people I’d like to mention are the staff.  I have yet to work with a more committed and skilled bunch of people.  It would take all day if I were to mention all of them - and I could, but I would like to single out a few.  Our two Newly Qualified Teachers: Miss Knight and Miss Turner, who in my opinion are two of the most natural teachers I have ever come across;  Mrs Bennett and Madame Priest, who joined this year and seem as if they have been here forever; Miss Riley, who has come all the way through the school as a pupil, back into the Nursery and is now a valued member of the teaching staff helping to look after Form 2; Mrs Tootell, who has bolstered our Office team; and last but certainly not least, our M&M in the Kitchen (Melissa and Mandy) who engage with the children daily and prepare our lovely food, always with a smile.  This year we said au revoir to Madame Cotton and Mrs Ella Jones and I wish them bon voyage on their onward journeys.

Finally, the Bellevue Group of schools who make it possible for Headteachers to be Headteachers by providing much-needed support.  I have benefited a great deal from having Mr Hyde, the Head of Forest Prep as my mentor this year.  I benefited from having both his and Mr Copestick’s numbers on speed dial.

In short, this year and this school have surpassed my expectations and I am so proud to be a part of this special place.  I look forward to working with all of you in the future to make this an even better school. 

We are not perfect - YET!

Michael Hibbert