It’s coming home, isn’t it? I think so - I thought so when I walked in the King’s Hall in Stoke yesterday for our annual Speech Day. There is a shield inside with the three lions on it. Is that a sign or what? We talked in assembly on Monday with the children and said that it’s hard to believe that in a week the World Cup will all be over. Of course, there will be other things that will also be over, as our current Prep 6 will have left Edenhurst.
They’re a wonderful group of children who have achieved so much this year with 100% success again in their 11+ exams with five scholarships, and entrance to five different senior schools. This confirms to me that Edenhurst remains the premier school in this area for preparing children for a number of different senior schools.
We will be saying goodbye to Prep 6 and saying goodbye to a number of parents this time, who have been supporting the school for a number of years. We are very grateful for all the support that you have given us; thank you very much.
I would also like to thank all of the staff at Edenhurst for another great year. Their support has been outstanding. We are saying goodbye to a few staff today: Mrs Greig, who has been a very energetic and inspirational Prep 3 teacher, helping with sport and introducing the duathlon activity. Miss West, who for nine years has been one of our teaching assistants. More recently she has run our Breakfast Club and been the microphone technician, the chicken saviour and the Eco Princess to the Eco Queen, Mrs. Heyhoe. We wish both of them all the very best.
We are also going to be saying goodbye to Sue Hill, who has cooked at Edenhurst for 28 years and serving up some delicious food. She has already told us that she would like to come back on occasion if we are short - Edenhurst is just that kind of school - and we shall be giving her a fond send-off.
Edenhurst is also saying goodbye to Suzanne [Copestick] - she first of all worked in Reception and then Form 1, and then the 12 and 13-year-old classes - that was quite a jump! - teaching English in there; then just lately teaching Prep 5, being the Learning Support Co-ordinator and being the Registrar for Admissions. She’s an outstanding teacher and generally lovely. Sharing an office for the last five years has been fantastic, but we are looking forward to sharing a bit more quality time together when we’re not thinking about school all the time! It goes without saying that I’m extremely grateful for the support that she has given me, both personally and professionally.
I’d also like to thank the present team of staff for all of their help to me over the years: I am going to pick out a few names so I hope I don’t offend anyone. I’d like to give a special mention to Chris Barnes, the Deputy Head; to Christine Long, who is changing roles - she is stepping down from classroom teaching and is going to take over the role of Learning Support Co-ordinator; and also to the two Liz’s: Liz Hodgkinson in Reception and Liz Whitmore in the Nursery. That band makes up the Senior Management Team, so thank you very much to all of those. In September Mr Barber is going to be promoted to the SMT so Edenhurst’s new Head, Mr Hibbert, will have a really strong team. A special mention also to Clair Wardle, whose support, hard work and organisation during the last 20 years has been very much appreciated.
In 1966, England won the World Cup with side containing a few exceptional players but a winning mentality based on Teamwork. In school, we call it Collective Teacher Efficacy, where a group of teachers achieves excellent results because they believe they can, and you only have to look at the last ISI inspection to see what a fantastic group of teachers we have at Edenhurst.
You already know the new staff that are joining: Mrs. Bennett, Miss Knight, and Mike’s wife Babitah - I know that they are coming into a group of teachers that will continue the outstanding traditions of Edenhurst. So we welcome Mike and Babitah to that new team, and we’ll be working with them during the summer to ensure that the handover is smooth. Mrs. Bennett and Miss Knight will also be taking part in that induction process as well.
Over the years, I have been lucky to work with some exceptional people who have helped to guide the school to where it is now. Edenhurst has always had that family feel about it and I believe that this will continue. Seven years ago I was delighted to enable the school to become part of the Bellevue Group; it has ensured the future of the school beyond my retirement; it has provided investment in terms of facilities such as the astroturf and the development of education; and I’m very pleased that Bellevue have offered me a part-time position in governance - not with Edenhurst, but working closely with Heads from other schools within the group.
Over the period I've been Head, I’ve tried to keep hold of three things: the first is to put the children first; the second is to explain decisions, whether that be to children, parents or teachers; and thirdly, making sure that the detail of things is correct - again, I can hear my Dad’s voice in my head.
It has been a complete privilege to work with your children; for some parents, to have taught you; and as I said at the Ball, there is now a grandchild of someone that I taught registered to come into the Nursery, so it really is time for me to go!
So for the future I wish Edenhurst Prep School, parents and grandparents, all the children and all the teachers all the very best.