Saturday, 10 November 2012

Founders day speech 2012

Founders day was an amazing success! Thank you to everyone who turned out at 3pm to see Graham Evans, MP perform the official opening ceremony and unveil a commemorative plaque.

The dining hall has full to bursting to hear the Chair of Governor's report & the Headteacher's report! Then everyone enjoyed the tour of the school, the amazing travelling zoo and finally the fireworks. Sandymoor school is well and truly open...

The Headteacher's report is reproduced below:

They say in politics that you judge a government by the first 100 days. Well, interestingly, counting back 100 days and we get to the 1st August! So what has happened since then?

Well, by the 1st August, it was the summer holidays. I had already visited over 30 potential parents in their homes, attended numerous meetings and events, and was looking forward to spending the summer getting ready to open the school. 

The site was still an empty field, although it did have temporary security fencing around it (which had been up since early July and the Summer Fair. I don't think I had ever been more excited by fencing than seeing the fencing that surrounded our site...

But all our staff had been appointed and everything was still on schedule. Although the weather was not kind, things were still progressing. During the summer, we had training days with all the staff and further planning meetings. Dave Guest from the BBC did some filming in preparation for their 'features' on the school. 

And then on the 21st August, the buildings arrived on site. With just two weeks to go, it was all hands on deck & at times the building site looked like something from Challenge Anica, with up to 60 workmen on the site at some points!

Monday, 3rd September and we open! I can now confess to being incredibly nervous that morning, after a completely sleepless night, standing at the school gate, waiting for our first students to arrive. The first student walking towards the school, in the Sandymoor uniform .... what an amazing sight!!

And it's been non-stop since then. We opened with no mains electricity (running on generators), water from a temporary supply and mobile phones our only communications. With 19 students when we started, we are now at 37, with a maximum capacity of 45 this year. Our intake is truly comprehensive, with a significantly greater percentage of Free School Meal students and students with special educational needs than Halton's average. 

On our open events, we had over 150 different families come and visit the school and we have high expectations of being full for September 2013. Sandymoor School is most definitely going from strength to strength!

One good milestone to see, just in the last couple of days, is work beginning on Wharford Lane, where the site for the new school is. To quote from the building company's brief:

"To enable the delivery of Sandymoor Free School".

This first Founders' day has been a true celebration of an enormous amount of hard work and determination by a lot of people. We would not be where we are today without a group of five ordinary people, like you and me. Like your parents. They decided to say that they wanted to make a difference & start a school here, in Sandymoor. Because they wanted to provide more choice for the people in this part of Runcorn. 

And I am so excited to be leading such an inspirational team of people in making a difference. It has been an incredibly tough journey for every member of staff here, and I want to publicly thank them for all the hard work they have put in to helping me make the vision a reality. They all inspire me. Thank you.

It is about you, however. This is all about you. Our students. Everything about us, and all the planning, long nights and heart-aches, it's all about you. 

This is all about giving you the best possible opportunity we can give to help you become the very best you can be. That is what education should always be about and it's a shame that it sometimes isn't, because politics or personal ambition gets in the way. But I promise you here and now that here, at Sandymoor, that is what it is all about. You. And helping you become the very best you can be.

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