Our roving reporter Harry and his colleagues Amelia and Emi , have been interviewing key staff members at Arlecdon primary school for the Times and Star.
They started with the most important and longest serving staff member, Mrs Barbara Campbell.
Harry: How long have you worked at Arlecdon Primary School?
Barbara: over 52 years! I started working in the kitchens but now come in every single day to clean and keep the place tidy for the students. I have barely missed a day since I first started 52 years ago. I love it.
Harry: Wow, what has kept you working here for so long?
Barbara: I love the children, I have seen generations go through the school from the village
Harry: What makes Arlecdon so special?
Barbara: Everyone is so friendly, it is great to be part of a big Arlecdon Family
Next, our roving reporter spoke to our newest staff member, Mrs Kerry Farish, who started as a teacher in January.
Harry: How long have you been working at Arlecdon and what do you do?
Kerry: I have only been here one week, although I visited a lot before Christmas. I teach years 1-3 every day.
Harry: What do you like about it so far?
Kerry: Everyone has made me feel so welcome and they all work very hard. Because it is a small school, everyone helps each other.
Our roving reporter then spoke with Miss Rebecca Routledge, a key member of staff who has many roles supporting pupils in school.
Harry: You do lots of jobs in school, how long have you been at Arlecdon and what is your day like working here?
Rebecca: I have been here 4 years. I have worked as a teaching assistant all of this time but have recently been trained to support children with emotional needs and this is a key role in school for me, providing one to one support for children who need this. I also support learning in classrooms during the day, which I really enjoy as I can see the progress children make and how they feel when they finally understand something which they have found challenging. I also oversee the ‘Wrap-around’ service which includes breakfast and after school provision. This is a key role in school, as many families rely on this care whilst parents are at work. We try to provide a variety of activities for the children but also host special events like parties and film nights. Some of our parents hire us to host their child’s birthday celebration, which is great- I get to attend lots of parties! I also work as a midday supervisor at lunchtime which allows me get to know the children in a different way and help to keep them safe. I certainly am a key part of the Arlecdon community.
Harry: This must keep you busy, you must really like working here. What do you like the most?
Rebecca: Arlecdon is a unique school. Everyone is friendly and happy. It feels like a big family and because we know the children so well, we can meet their individual needs. I love coming to work every day as I know I am making a difference.
Lastly, our intrepid reporter spoke with Executive Head teacher, Mrs Wendy Figes for her insight into what makes Arlecdon so special.
Harry: Mrs Figes, can you tell me what you do at Arlecdon Primary and how long you have worked here?
Wendy: I have been here for over six years, I am also the Head teacher at Thornhill primary in Egremont and I split my time between the two schools. My day is very varied and no two weeks are the same. The variety in the job is one of the things that makes it so interesting. My key role is to ensure that the school delivers a high-quality education to pupils, that pupil needs are met and to ensure the school serves its community effectively. The Governors of the school have entrusted the care of their youngest citizens with me and I feel it is an honour to be able to make a difference in this community and to help shape the next generation.
Harry: What is a typical day like?
Wendy: I don’t know that there is a typical day. Some days I am teaching in class, I also work alongside families and other agencies with Special needs or safeguarding issues. I work on policies and procedures or making decisions about staffing and budget. Sometimes I have to look into health and safety matters and other times I might be looking at performance data or delivering training. The best parts of the day are talking to the children and seeing their enthusiasm for learning.
Harry: and what are the worst parts?
Wendy: If someone is sick and I have to clean it up- I really hate sick!
Harry: what makes this school so special?
Wendy: so many things, there is a lot of love in this school and it is very much loved in the community. The building and school have been here since Victorian times and generations of local people have been to this school and have fond memories of it. I think it is a very resilient school, from a strong resilient community. It is happy to change and adapt to suit the needs of the time and is very forward thinking in outlook. It has a very strong culture of support and a very real focus on wellbeing and care, which is a thread running through everything that happens in school. It is also keen to thrive and wants all children to do well academically as part of preparing them for the next stage in their journey. Because everyone knows and cares for the children, they want the very best for them. Everyone works very hard and is creative and flexible in their approach to delivering the curriculum. It isn’t always easy but a supportive team and community really help.
Harry: The school is now part of the West lakes Multi—Academy Trust, what impact has this had?
Wendy: . We believe that by working with the trust we will be able to improve outcomes and the educational experience for our pupils. I have always been a firm believer in cross-school working and feel that there is strength in team work and collaboration. This is a natural extension of this. We have already seen some impact in terms of resourcing and cross school working and I am thrilled to be able to work alongside experienced staff in the Academy on a journey which will improve the educational experiences for children in West Cumbria through the MAT.
Harry: If you could sum up Arlecdon in a sentence, what would you say?
Wendy: Arlecdon is a local community school which supports the whole child in a loving way to prepare them for their future as global citizens of the 21st Century.