By Peter Barnett
When Taralee Kennedy became the new head teacher at St Nicholas-at-Wade Church of England Primary one of her first decisions was to revive an old school tradition.
Up until 1992 the previous heads of school had kept a hand-written daily diary of events – and now 30 years later Mrs Kennedy is reinstating the idea.
She said: “When I found the diary in my office I was captivated – it was a lovely snapshot of life at the village school from the 1970s onwards.
“I intend to start a new chapter in the life of the head’s diary. So many aspects of school life are documented electronically these days as an essential part of the hyper-efficient system that covers almost all aspects of administration. It is a progressive way forward that is a critical bedrock of daily life at St Nicholas.
“However, I will make time each day for me to pick up a pen and write a short paragraph or two from my perspective that will record something of the soul of the school that in years to come others can look back on with interest, just as I did a few weeks ago.
“I explained about the diary to our children in my first assembly with the theme New Beginnings – they were interested to find out a little history about the school and that a daily written account is going to be kept once again.”
Mrs Kennedy, 49, is already loving life at St Nicholas since being named head teacher and replacing Heather Kemp who retired at the end of the summer term.
She said: “There is a lovely feeling here – it is a traditional village school with around 190 children. We have an important ethos of caring and nurturing, while encouraging achievement and ambition.
“The staff and governors are very supportive, and the children and their families have given me a smashing welcome. We also have an enthusiastic Parent Teachers and Friends Association.
“It is an all-embracing community that works together to give each girl and boy the best opportunity to succeed and develop a life-long love of learning.”
The balance of core curriculum and creative project-based education is something that Mrs Kennedy believes works well at St Nicholas, and the learning spaces indoors and outdoors, including a forest school, bristle with imagination.
The school embraces Christian values of ‘honesty, kindness, courage, resilience, and being the best you can’. Its stated vision is to ‘challenge, inspire and achieve beyond our imaginings’. It celebrates inclusion, diversity and fundamental British values.
Mrs Kennedy added: “These are early days for me and just like our new intake of children I am finding my feet- but the sheer joy I feel at being head teacher of this lovely school is a real pleasure and a challenge I wholeheartedly embrace.”