(This letter can also be accessed from the Headteacher's Updates on the home page of the website).
I said I would write to you closer to the time I finally left, so here goes!! As I said in my previous letter to you, it has been my privilege to be part of the Catton Grove community since my appointment as head of the Middle School in 1999. I said to governors then that I would definitely be around for at least 5 years – 21 years later I am still here, just!!
For those of you who have been around that long (and there are more than just a few!!), I think you will agree that the past couple of decades have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, never dull, always interesting and very exciting!! Inevitably, there have been challenges and barriers along the way but, true to form, the Catton Grove community have always met them head on and overcome them. Throughout my time here what has always struck me is your willingness to engage with and support the school on behalf of all of our kids. I have always valued that sense of trust and I thank you for it.
We have, undoubtedly, come a long way in the last couple of decades. For a start, we are in a ‘new(ish)’ building, thanks to some dodgy sub-contractors in 2001, and we are now the biggest and one of the most successful primary schools in the county – who would have predicted that in 1999!!
Those of us who work here, and those who have gone before, think it is a pretty damn good school! People often comment that it is like a family, albeit a very, very large family!! You will be pleased to know that the local authority, OFSTED and anyone else who takes the time and the trouble to come in, some from a very long way away indeed, also think that we are pretty damn good too!! The school really is held in very high regard and you should be really proud of yourselves for the contribution you have made to that judgement – believe me, it has not been easy to achieve.
Anyone who works at Catton Grove has to demonstrate that they have your kids at the heart of what they do, that they care deeply for them and that they will always go the extra mile on their behalf.
The staff here are amazing – they always have been and I am sure they always will be. We expect a lot of them and they never fail to deliver. I think they enjoy what they do because once here they rarely leave and even when they do it is often to lead other schools. There are little bits of Catton Grove spread all around Norfolk and far beyond!!
When I started, all those years ago, people often said to me, ‘You can’t do that with kids like that!’ My response was always, ‘Kids like what??’ quickly followed by, ‘Why not??’ I am happy to say that whatever we have done and wherever we have been (and we have been to lots of places!!) everyone has always been immensely impressed with your kids. They have never let us down and we have always been incredibly proud of them, you should be too. There is a real ‘can- do’ attitude at the school with the belief that anything is possible – you have been, and I am sure will continue to be, a really important part of that.
This week will be very emotional for me personally. I will miss the staff, the kids, you (parents/carers) and the wider community. I will miss the ‘buzz’!! Catton Grove has been a very big part of my life for almost a third of my life!! Tears will be shed!! But, it is time to move on, it is time to take some time, it is time to see different places (hopefully!!), it is time to do different things (but NOT potholing!!), it is time to slow down (well just a little bit!!), it is time spend more time with loved ones.
Your kids are in great hands for the future. The staff will look after them and make sure they continue to thrive. Mrs Lorne, Ms Lacey, Mrs Shenton, Mrs Pattison and Mr Greenall will look after the staff and make sure they thrive too. The wonderful Catton Grove governors led by Darren Woodward will make sure that EVERYONE does their thing!!
As I said at the beginning, it has been my privilege to serve the Catton Grove community but more than that it has been my pleasure and if anyone asked me would I do it all over again my answer would be YES, in a heartbeat!! Thank you, take care and take it easy.
(Mr. T Lawes).