We are family...



Last week, I took the opportunity of a meeting in Reading to pop into my old primary school. Westwood Farm Infants and Juniors in Tilehurst...


I hadn't been there in forty-one years. I'll leave it to you to work out which one is me...

Westwood Farm Infants

Going back was wonderful. It was a bit like being in one of the children's TV series that I remember looking forward to coming home to at about the time that photo was taken...


And that was also a  cartoon strip in Look-In magazine, which I recall eagerly awaiting being delivered by the paper-boy every Thursday morning - before school if you were lucky!

Timeslip 2 

Plus ca change. With the exception of computers, the configuration of classrooms seemed exactly as I remembered them. Interconnected, creating a sense of togetherness, familiarity, reassurance. Like home. I guess a great learning environment doesn't need to change.


As I left at about 3.15, parents were beginning to gather at the gates to collect their children. A teacher walking out to greet them. A reminder, too, of the intimacy and 'face-to-face' relationship of school and home that characterises, perhaps by its very nature, the primary experience.


How fitting then the following evening at school was our Welcome social for new Year 7 parents and students, hosted by the Park House Association, our wonderful parent volunteers who do so much to build our special relationships between home school, students, parents and staff. An event all about making everyone feel part of the community; the family, if you like.

Year 7
Year 7


And I refer you back here what I wrote last week about what I think makes us different…




In this context, it's about making the big school like a small school. More like your primary in being known as an individual, where you won't get lost - physically, academically or emotionally - and where mum or dad feel absolutely at home, too.


And what I really loved, as I went around chatting to parents and students, was listening to two mums who had just struck up a friendship having not even met before... Because their daughters had done exactly the same thing on their first day!


We are - certainly aspire to be - family.