Celebrating New Beginnings
Headmistress's Welcome & Introduction
"There is nothing more special than meeting new people, hearing their stories and being inspired."
An extremely warm welcome back to one and all. Many of you have been very kind, asking me how I am finding the very first days of my new role. I am pleased to announce that I have enjoyed a brilliant first week and am definitely still smiling! St Leonards is an inspiring school and families, Members of Council and staff have been incredibly supportive and welcoming – it is a privilege to work here and become part of the St Leonards community. Of course, the most wonderful thing of all has been meeting the children. They are a credit to you as parents, and to the school. I hope that you are all extremely proud of them because I know that I shall be the proudest Headmistress in the land with these children and staff to lead.
Thank you to those who attended the Start of Term Assembly on Tuesday morning. ‘New Beginnings’ was our theme, focusing on friendship and kindness. Every child has now received a personalised postcard, with a handwritten note and a fact about myself, and I am thrilled to report I have already received a flurry of responses. I have quickly discovered that the children are brimming with exciting interests and talents. One owns pet rats, another had her hair cut for charity, and someone else recently won a national show-jumping competition! I am going to put all the cards on display in the foyer shortly, so please do come in and have a look. These facts represent the beginning of a new relationship that I hope to develop and nurture with every child.
This term, my focus will be on getting to know and understand the school, so that I can gain a clear view of its many strengths as well as any areas we may wish to develop even further. I will be talking to staff and pupils and will shortly be sending out a questionnaire to parents. I shall also be observing our teaching and learning, and travelling in and out over the course of a day with a child in each class so that I can really have a sense of a day in the life of a pupil. I have many ideas and aspirations for the future, but first I want to take time to clarify these, and to gather the thoughts and opinions of stakeholders. I will also be linking in with my wonderful colleagues in the Senior School, with contributing to the overall vision of St Leonards in mind. I will be using this term to this end, and will of course feed back to you later on in the year.
We will get to know each other well over the coming months but, first and foremost, I would like to let you know that, for me, a school belongs to the children and families in it. I am committed to ensuring that all of your children have a wonderful learning experience at St Leonards, and l know that positive parent partnerships are vital. We are a team around the child, and very much their support network as they explore and weave their way through the world. I will always make myself available should you have any concerns to raise, questions to ask or ideas to share. Often the people using the systems or receiving a service have the best ideas, so please do let me know if you have any thoughts or ‘light bulb’ moments to add into the development pot - the door is always open.
I very much look forward to getting to know you all as we work together to ensure that each and every child has a wonderful future ahead at St Leonards Junior School and experiences the best education possible.
May I take this opportunity to say hello and welcome to our new staff and children, who have joined us in the Junior School this term.
Mr Simon Lamb takes over from Mrs Teresa Fynn, providing maternity cover in Year 6C. Mr Lamb joins us from Wick in the north of Scotland, and is an extremely talented teacher and a keen story writer and reader. As I walked past his classroom this week, I was treated to some excellent behaviour for learning as the children were inspired by some rather dramatic story telling. I know he will be an asset to the team.
Mrs Marije Sneddon has also joined the team this term as a Year 5C Class Teacher. Originally from the Netherlands, Mrs Sneddon arrives with extensive teaching experience, high expectations and lots of enthusiasm for St Leonards. We are so pleased to have her, and also wish her well in her new post.
The Junior School roll at St Leonards continues to grow, and we are delighted that Grace Halden and Daniel Whiston have joined us this term. Welcome to the St Leonards family. I look forward to getting to know you, and wish you many happy years at St Leonards.
Teachers Learn Too
Whilst parents were busy getting the children ready for the start of Spring Term on Monday, staff took part in an INSET Day training session in St Katharines Hall. Part of the session provided an opportunity for members of staff to share their professional learning journeys and experiences at St Leonards. We each mapped out when our St Leonards journeys began, and added in all of the changes and events we had seen and celebrated since then. This was a fantastic ice-breaking activity which demonstrated the wonderful spread of teachers in the Junior School, each of whom has incredible and varied experiences to draw upon. This activity gave me an insight into the history of this wonderful school, and great optimism about what we can all achieve together.
Eve Moran, Junior School Headmistress
Every week I would like to pick out some of the incredible things that have been happening in the Junior School this week. I popped into Year 1 to find Mrs Lindsay and the children busy sewing some mittens. I wonder if this is perhaps in anticipation of some cold weather ahead? Their stitches were beautiful and the level of concentration in the room a sight to behold.
In Year 4, I found the boys and girls engrossed in their new class reading book all about an owl who was afraid of the dark.
Meanwhile, members of the Running Club are certainly not afraid of the dark! They donned their head torches and ran all the way along the East Sands and up the Fife Coastal Path to the St Andrews Holiday Park and back. I may have to look out my trainers and join them in the weeks ahead.
In the Lower School Playground and outside around the wider school grounds, it has been wonderful to see all the smiling faces back for the start of what is set to be another busy, but most certainly fun, Spring Term.