Last letter from Mr Strong 17 December 2021
Friday 17th December 2021
Dear Parents and Carers,
Final message from Mr. Strong
It is with deep sadness that today I write my last message as Headteacher of St. John’s Gosport, Church of England (VA) Primary School. I wish to thank you all personally for your support and understanding during my five years as leader of our wonderful school community. For those of you who have been part of the journey for the all of those years – what a journey it has been!
I leave our learning community feeling proud of all we have achieved and great excitement for the future. Looking back over the last five years to January 2017 there have been many changes, which have ensured that our school is now proudly a benchmark for other schools in Gosport to look towards for inspiration. Of all the changes, ranging from improved learning spaces for our children to engagement of parents and carers in their children’s learning, I am most proud of the consistently good and outstanding teaching and learning our children receive every day. This has been the foundation of the rapid improvement and continued success for our school. For me, having wonderful teaching and learning every day for our children, is the heart beat of a great school, which serves its local community, ensuring the children are ready for their next stage in learning.
When growing up as a young boy in inner city Melbourne Australia in the 1970’s I took for granted going to a good school where the leaders and teachers ensured I learned the three ‘Rs’ (reading, writing and arithmetic) as we used to say. I also took for granted that my school was firmly rooted in Christian values where I was taught how to be respectful to others, where I was taught to be courageous and take risks with my learning and play, and to love others by supporting those who were needier than myself. I am proud that St. John’s, has always been, and I hope will always continue to be, rooted in those same Christian values and good teaching and learning. I am proud that as a school and community, our highest priorities are good teaching, learning and values-based education where our children learn to be the best they can be and contribute to society in a meaningful way.
Each day of my Headship at St. John’s I have been inspired by my amazing, dedicated and understanding teaching and support staff. We have created a staff that is child centred and ensure all our children achieve from their starting points. I’m sure you all realise by now that being an inclusive local school for all children is vital to ensure we are a true reflection of our local area and as many children as possible have the opportunity to experience the ‘St. John’s way’ of learning and living. Building the St. John’s team of staff has been integral to the success of the school.
As you all know, I have been away from school for a few weeks spending time with my family and sister Maryanne, who has stage four cancer and I thank you all for the opportunity to be able to do that in my last weeks of being part of our wonderful community. In any wider community family is the most important ingredient.
Engagement in our school community, by parents, carers and the wider Gosport community, is always a part of the school I wanted to improve. Teaching and learning is the bedrock of a successful school but engagement from parents and the wider community is what sets it apart from other schools. At St. John’s this has taken a great deal of time to manifest and I thank the current and past PTA’s for their perseverance and resilience in continuing in times of adversity. We now have a PTA that is fully functioning and successful to build upon the great work school. Many thanks PTA for all your successes.
I know I say it all the time in my letters to you all – that community and thinking of others is what makes our school special – and I cannot say it any other way. Community is about all the people, those who are successful, those who are struggling and those that require additional needs.
Community is about pride in ourselves and the actions we take – that is: wearing the school uniform with pride, it is using your manners in the local corner shop, it is about helping the elderly lady or man cross San Diego Road, it is about speaking highly to your neighbours about our school, it is behaving yourself in the park and being that child or adult who sets the example to others.
As Headteacher if I leave any legacy, it is this – that you, children and parents, continue to be part of this wonderful community showing others in Gosport and further how others can come together, display love, courage and respect to ensure our future generations can do their very best.
It has been an honour and a privilege to be the Headteacher at St. John’s and the custodian over the last five years, ensuring the school continues to move forward and progress, so our children have the best opportunities available. The school will now embark on the recruitment process for the next Headteacher of our community. While that process is taking part, the school is in the capable and very experienced hands of Mrs Wilkinson and the rest of the Senior Leadership Team. Miss Havey, Mrs Schneider, Mrs Hooper and Mr. Norris will continue to support Mrs Wilkinson. The new Headteacher will be in post for September 2022.
As I have expressed before, at St. John’s, continuity and developing a strong team from within has been paramount and the biggest driver in school improvement. The St. John’s team is the envy of other schools in the area and our community is in great hands.
Last but not least, my thanks once again, for your support, kindness and support for our community.
Mr. L. Strong