It is Monday morning and my last full day at St Mary’s with children present. It is a very strange feeling after eighteen years at the school. However, despite the strangeness of it all, I can say that it has been a privilege to serve the community that is St Mary’s and I have many memories, primarily good ones. It is now time to express final gratitude and to reinforce the key purpose of our school.
Firstly, I would like to thank you as parents for entrusting your children to us and for the support that you give the school on a daily basis. As parents you play a crucial role in partnership with the school to ensure the best education and welfare of the students. We are blessed to work and learn in a place like this with its lovely rural environment: sometimes it is easy to forget how fortunate we are when in the throes of all our daily activity.
I have also been fortunate to work alongside a most supportive governing body and conscientious staff who give the learning and care of your children the highest priority. I know we are far from perfect and probably frustrate you from time to time; perhaps I could say the same in reverse? However, everything that we do is done with the best of intentions and, on the whole, it seems to work well.
What we should always remember is why the school existed in the first place and that was to serve the Catholic community of Herefordshire. This role has expanded somewhat as the number of our pupils has increased over the years: although substantially Catholic and the teachings are those of its church, our mission includes other Christian communities too. We base our work on the teachings of Jesus as told to us through the Gospels. Our greater mission is to continue to build the Kingdom of God and we should all remember that we are His children and precious to Him.
The Advent season where we wait with anticipation for the birth of Jesus serves as a timely reminder of who we are. Although exam results and inspections are as important to us as any other school, it is in forming the whole person that our true distinctiveness emerges. We express that in the way that we treat and respect others, and the charity that we provide.
I wish Mr Shannon and the team well for next term, and Mr Wetson when he starts after Easter. Mr Shannon (among others) continues to be a wise and loyal servant to the school and I could not have managed without him. In Mr Wetson, the school is fortunate to gain an experienced head teacher who possesses a range of skills, talents and experience that will undoubtedly serve the school well. He has an excellent reputation at Dyson Perrins Academy and he is much respected by parents, staff and students. You can all look forward with confidence to some very good times ahead.
Please have a very good Christmas and a happy New Year. May God bless you all in the years to come.
Head teacher (retired)