I will start this month’s blog by wishing you a Happy New Year, and every best wish for the year ahead.
At the time of writing, we are preparing for the official opening of Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School, our latest free school to open its doors to children and their families. The school’s journey, from a vision and an application by John Taylor MAT way back in April 2017 through numerous project meetings and engagement events to the admission of children into nursery and reception classes in September 2022 was a lengthy one. There were some bumps in the road, certainly – and this is only to be expected with ambitious and complex proposals – but the journey was sustained through great partnership working and a common belief in and understanding of what we sought to achieve: a school in which our ambition for the children as individual learners of limitless potential is only matched by our drive to make their experience as engaging and happy as it possibly can be.
This time last year, we issued the following postcard to the families who had expressed an interest in sending their child to the school:
We felt the image was a fitting one, illustrating a young child (in their new Fradley Park sweatshirt!) stepping out with confidence into the world. I hope you notice that the way ahead for the child is not necessarily an easy or clear one. In our own journeys, we will rarely find signposts to our side and rose petals under our feet! Yet we stride forward anyway – as the alternative is simply to stay put, stand still, and let the seasons change and the world turn around us. Drawing on our own childhood experiences, and those of others around us and known to us, we are all acutely aware of how those accurately-titled “formative years” shape us and influence us. It is with good reason that this message greets children and adults when they enter the school:
I hope to share with you later this month some of the scenes from the official opening on 13th January. We are looking forward to recognising the achievements of all those who worked tirelessly to transform the school from a blueprint to a community, and celebrating how much the school and its children have to look forward to.
To conclude, I will refer back to the young child pictured in the postcard and ask that you look at that image whilst considering the words of eminent child psychologist John Scardina: “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.” As educators, as parents, and as a society, this should always be our intention.
As always, thanks for reading.
PS: If you would like to learn more about Fradley Park Primary and Nursery School, Chrissie Allen (Headteacher) and her team would love you to get in touch!