Thursday, 14 February 2013


I spent the morning at Canon Lee School in York where I am now a local authority governor.

I had read the prospectus, met some of the team and attended governing body and committee meetings but as a new governor at Canon Lee School I wanted to spend some time in the school when it was working and see for myself what the students were like, what the atmosphere around the school was like and what made the place tick. 
I was very fortunate to have Helen Lane, an old colleague from Leeds who is working in the school, as my guide especially as I haven't walked around the school for a very long time. It was great to have some of Helen's valuable time and to attend the Year 8 Assembly with her where Reverend Canon David Casswell, the local vicar, talked to the students about the importance of personal reflection and finding time and space where you can think and develop understanding. He also sang and played the guitar to this wonderful group of young people who were an impressive audience and listened attentively and respectfully. After a brief guided tour with Helen, I was then trusted to wander around the school on my own visiting lessons and, as when I walked around with Helen, I was struck by the calm and purposeful atmosphere everywhere I went.... in languages, in science, in home economics, in maths... the school was incredibly quiet and the students were on task and happily learning. I also visited the library and the dining hall during break where large numbers of students, generally unsupervised, were chatting, eating toast and very clearly engaged and happy.
The prospectus talks about students being inspired, challenged and supported to be their very best and I was deeply impressed with what I saw this morning at Canon Lee School. This is a small school with some brilliant staff and some wonderful students. A school where some great things are happening and will continue to happen, guided and supported by a strong and committed leadership team and governing body. A school where attainment is clearly good and where importantly the students appear to be happy, safe and increasingly successful. All schools should strive to be outstanding and I recognise there is always lots to do to reach this goal but I am really looking forward to working at Canon Lee as a governor and more importantly to my next visit. I hope to visit more classrooms, talk and listen to more students and more of the staff team and further develop my understanding of the issues facing the school and what makes this school such a unique and special learning place!

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