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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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A term of celebrations

THE summer term has always been one of my favourites and this year is set to be one jammed full of celebrations. Headteachers across Cumbria will be opening their daily post to find a plethora of Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 initiatives.

YEOMAN OF THE GUARD: Jericho School’s headteacher Shaun Monaghan dressed up for last year’s mass school street party in the playground to mark the Royal wedding

I’ve lost count of the number of flyers offering Jubilee mugs or coins emblazoned with our school name or publishers offering Olympic worksheets which will enable our pupils to excel in their SATs tests.

Jericho’s school council has joined the BBC’s World Class Scheme which has opened up global citizenship opportunities for our pupils to link with schools across the world. West Cumbrian pupils will soon be taking part in the school games with schools across Copeland competing together at the Cumbria Sports Academy in Whitehaven.

The Olympic torch will pass through our town and my year six pupils recently rushed into my office matching Usain Bolt’s personal best to inform me we had received tickets for the London 2012 games. Thoughts of the 100 metres final disappeared as we found we had been allocated three tickets for the football at St James’ Park, Newcastle. “It’s the taking part that counts.” I quickly reminded them. “It’s actually the Sports Direct Stadium,” interjected a Geordie fan from year five.

I’m sure all Cumbrian schools will be excited about the Queen’s Jubilee; one of the best celebrations held recently was a huge street party we held on our school yard. The pupils were even slightly intrigued by my Beefeater fancy dress costume complete with stuffed raven from the Tower. “What are you wearing this year Mr M, not that Roman soldier costume again?”

As letters informing parents of which primary or infant school their child has been allocated drop through letter boxes on Monday April 30 I am sure it will be time for further celebration.

Cumbria is lucky to boast a 3-11 education system which is the envy of other authorities across the country. Ofsted inspections, even under the new framework, consistently show that our schools provide excellent learning opportunities for our children.

SATs results at the age of seven and 11 regularly show that our pupils exceed the national average in maths, English and science.

As the debate rumbles on about how effective our schools really are, we need to celebrate all that is good in our Cumbrian schools. There are difficulties ahead with funding being streamlined and more change just around every corner we turn.

We owe it to our ‘Olympians’ in every classroom to ensure that the opportunities we provide them are truly world class and when they leave to join the world outside Cumbria they can compete on an equal footing.


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