Yesterday I put aside the day to spend it at Farnborough Rd School where I have been a Governor for many years. The day had been organised to let Governors see the school working. There was a good turn out amongst Governors especially parent Governors.
The school had planned individual programmes for each of us and I began the day with 3/1 doing maths.The object of the lesson was to confirm that the pupils were able to tell the time to the nearest 5 minutes. I was mightily impressed with the resourceful way the teacher dealt with the tricky issue that we have two ways of expressing the time once we get past the half hour. Personally I was surprised that only one child was wearing a watch although clear all the children had one at home. The second part of the lesson was the 7 x table. We had time challenges, learning by rote and using the interactive whiteboard to shuffle the questions. I was impressed. It was far more fun, stimulating and participatory than the way I had my tables drummed into me-although I must confess that I found I could still answer the questions without pausing to thinks so the techniques used on me clearly worked.
Next I got taken to see a Bollywood dance. The year group had a topic this term of India. It was brilliant, boys and girls alike were joining in and even when given the opportunity to sit out the whole class chose to stay with the performance.
Farnborough Rd is a School with a proud sporting tradition especially with football. Several of the lads have been signed up by Premiership League Club's academy programmes at Liverpool, Everton, Bolton and Preston North End. I remember years ago at a Schools' Cup Final held (I think at Anfield) having a young Jack Rodwell pointed out to me as one of our players. When we met staff involved in the sports activity it was good to see that they were alive to ways of making sure that all the children were involved in activity. It would be too easy to bask in the success of the few and ignore the rest. The Headteacher leads a session called 'football for fun' which is obviously thoroughly enjoyed by children who have no desire to be in the First Team
The School Council was the next stop. All the issues that elected politicians face were on display. After consultation they had taken a decision which they were all happy with and now a dissident minority not on the council were complaining and some of the members were rattled. I was please that they seemed inclined to stick with their original decision.
The day was rounded off for me with a trip to the Everyman Theatre organised by my daughter for my birthday. It was very funny, a ninety minutes monologue that drew us all into as one reviewer said: