As our Year 6 children prepare to leave Harlow Green at the end of today, we have been able to use this final week of the academic year to deliver some lovely events, which have not only allowed us to celebrate all that they have achieved but have also brought family members back into school. On Tuesday, we managed to have our graduation assembly in the highest temperatures ever recorded; thankfully, these temperatures were then not so much an issue as we ate together at a local Italians that had welcomed air-conditioning; and, finally, there was the extravaganza that was the Leavers’ Show which brought laughter and tears to the parents and carers who were full of mixed emotions.
These events have again demonstrated that we are nearly there in terms of ‘normality’. Since September, we have been able to make further progress towards reaffirming ourselves as a community school by moving beyond the confines of the classroom, not just for the children, but for the benefit of families. Although we have been slow and steady with this, there has been great success with the Platinum Jubilee Street Party, the Summer Fayre and Sports Days being some of the significant examples. These successes have reminded us that school is far more than a basic curriculum and that it is essential to provide opportunities where children see positive interactions, with respect and understanding, as this allows them to grow personally in so many ways.
As you can imagine, the staff have been fantastic in their endeavours to plan and implement these events so that they can be enjoyed by so many people. Just thinking of the Summer Fayre alone, the teamwork required from every member of staff, to ensure that approximately a thousand people could access the site and enjoy the afternoon, was a huge logistical feat. An event such as this takes careful organisation, determination and resilience but, ultimately, a passion to do the best by our children. This level of planning was made far easier though with the amazing support of our Parent Association who have reformed and have been able to work as an integral part of the Harlow Green family – this work has been invaluable.
We know that, even though we want to be fully back to normal, society is not quite at that stage, and this still places pressures on parents and carers. In addition, the prices of food, petrol and utilities are skyrocketing, and this will be a huge worry for everyone. As a school, we have adapted and will continue to work in a way which attempts to help as much as we possibly can such as increasing our subsidies for educational visits, subsidising school meal costs, creating holiday clubs, and providing preowned uniforms for free. Harlow Green is a school which wants to be at the heart of its community so that it can positively influence the way in which we all live within it. This has been exemplified by our link with Angel Court Care home which we have been able to reinstate. The project undertaken there promotes intergenerational relationships and has gone from strength to strength. Our children have made a huge impact on the lives of residents where they have taken part in various activities, performed musical renditions, and created a sensory garden that can be accessed all year round.
After the constraints of lockdowns, we have purposely focused on health and sporting activity. Consequently, the vast majority of children have taken part in festivals and competitions where they have learned new skills, applied themselves with confidence, have been successful but, more importantly, have had great fun. These types of events – along with their play at break and lunch times – have supported our children to not only be physically healthy but to be emotionally healthy … in other words, happy.
Of course, the main day in a school consists of children arriving on time, sitting in class, listening to their teachers and learning the knowledge and skills which will prepare them for each next important step. This is what our staff dedicate themselves to do – day in, day out – with rigor and passion. However, they know that their work is enhanced greatly by the support parents and carers give on a daily basis, whether that be by bringing children in every day, reading with them at home, providing a healthy diet, supporting sleep routines, giving them boundaries to allow them to understand rules and expectations – all of this means that children are in the best place possible to walk through our doors and thrive. For all your efforts, we cannot thank you enough.
Over the summer break, we very much hope that all of our families have a chance to relax and have fun. With the way the British summer can be that may be venturing out in the sun or, at times, being indoors playing boardgames on a rainy day! However the summer is spent, we will look forward to seeing our community back again in September where we will aim to continue to grow happy, healthy and successful, together.