It has been a most extraordinary month, this October. It has seen the culmination of the most wonderful, zealous and moving term that I think I have experienced here at Christ the Sower, and that includes last term and the fantastic SIAMS inspection outcome, and Spring 2014 when we had both a great OFSTED result and a visit from 20 European teachers.
Little signs have told me of the enormous competence and compassion that our teaching team has demonstrated over the last month – comments from parents and teachers after the Parents’ Consultation in the last week of the half-term; the dynamism created by the “temporary” senior leadership team and the acquisition of three new teachers who have not been hanging about in their desire to make an impact; the sense of the blessing of God that has accompanied our walk together; the peaceableness that children have shown as they have settled to the task; and the awareness amongst those who are called as Christians in this place to walk as disciples. It has been real, honourable and humbling, and as October draws to a close, I am full of gratitude to God and to those who have supported us as leaders this term.
Today we held meetings with all the teachers from Year 1 to Year 6 – similar to the “impact meetings” we held last year, but this time to find out what was working, especially for those children who had the most catching up to do, and what would be needed. Like the weather today, it was a bit of a sharp shock for some, but meant that we had a common, collegiate and kind approach to the progress of children. Seeing the selflessness and openness of nearly all teachers today was a great testimony to the careful way that the leadership team have built improvement on the basis of encouragement.
We began the day with a circle in which we were invited by Kaajal to share what it was that made us grateful in our work in Christ the Sower. For so many – the overwhelming majority – it was the kindness and support shown by those engaged in the common task of teaching children. This for me only scratched the surface of the issue: far more gratifying for me is the fact that each of these lovely adults can, because of the support and encouragement from those around them, give more and more of themselves, selflessly to the task.
And it IS our task, nobody else’s. We have one another because God gave us to each other. We have the children we have in our school because God gave these children to us. And yes, I am aware that that might not always be a cause for gratitude! We have the kind of school we have because those who pray and seek God on our behalf have had their prayers answered by a gracious and all-compassionate God. We sustain the life of the school through and under the power of the Holy Spirit. We live and we serve, under His holy call. And if you are a Christian reading this, then this is your bread and butter. And if you are not, and you serve with us, then, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You are no less called to serve the children in front of you. As a dear friend said to me eighteen months ago: Huw, these children, these children – they are my worship.
So I just want to say to every one of you who serve with me, how grateful I am to you that you came on the journey, and stayed for the challenge and the joys. No matter what the future holds, I want to set a mark here, now, at the end of this extraordinary month, of gratitude and remembrance for all that you have done, this term, for these children, in this place.