This morning it was my privilege to join the Remembrance Day Parade and church service. Barton-under-Needwood was served proudly by The Royal British Legion, local servicemen past and present, children from the Scouts, Guides, Brownies and Beavers and our village schools, representatives from the emergency services and other local groups, and a significant number of residents. For those who regularly follow my blogs, you will note that this time of year always has a profound impact on me. Indeed, it was the focus of my November Blog last year.
However, this blog relates more to those who I stood alongside today rather than the reason for our gathering. Today was a very visible and impressive demonstration of community action. In Barton, as is the case in many of the neighbouring villages within our school catchment, if the community want events to happen (Jubilee celebrations, bonfire night firework displays, craft fairs) or groups to run (scouts, Mothers Union, cricket club) residents acknowledge THEY will need to make it happen. Whether that means being involved in organisation or in showing support through participation, village communities roll their collective sleeves up with relish – and to great effect! At John Taylor, we benefit from this directly through having governors who give so much time to the school, a PTA that works for our benefit with tremendous enthusiasm and energy, and volunteers and community partners who will help us and our children in the classroom, on trips, and in so many other ways.
This community spirit is contagious from generation to generation. On parade today were just some of the young people at the school who get involved. One young man in our Sixth Form had to make a quick change from his scouts uniform into a chorister’s robes for the church service and then back again! I know that many children from the school were also involved in events in Burton and at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas (where the school was also represented by our Chair of Governors). This level of participation often begins at primary school. Some of our children attend schools which serve small communities. Again, if these children want a sports day – they have to compete, if they want a school play – they have to perform. The transition to a large secondary school which many onlookers view as so daunting is made so much easier by the confidence and skills that come from active participation. Through our Year 7 ‘STRIPE’ programme, we develop these skills further in our ‘Community’ unit that Year 7 have worked on this term.
All our students, and most of their parents, will know that I believe success is derived from ‘turning up, working hard, and being nice’. To ‘turn up’ is not merely a request for good attendance and punctuality to school (important as that is), but a call to engage : to get involved with what you can, when you can, and give your all in the process. Many do this, following fine examples from their parents and others in their local communities. From this ‘virtuous circle’, we all benefit – and long may we continue to do so!
Thank you for reading.