Eighteen months ago Highfurlong School welcomed a new Head Teacher, Neill Oldham. He was not only new new to us but new to the role of Head Teacher too. Although rather young for such responsibility he brought a wealth of experience as a DHT, SENCO and DSL.
Neill was forced to hit the ground running when Ofsted arrived 3 weeks into his headship. We, as a leadership team found ourselves along with the whole school staff attempting to retain our ‘Outstanding’ status which had been in place for 3 successive inspections while trying to gel together as a team. Almost immediately after this success Investors in People arrived and although it was hard fought we achieved gold status.
There have been many trials and tribulations along the way including the very sad death of a pupil and Neill has taken everything in his stride and has dealt with it all in a calm and composed manner. He has been supportive of everyone in school and Highfurlong families are full of praise for everything he has achieved and for the family feeling he has built around the school. Several have said that they are so grateful to him for always being there for them for whatever life has thrown at them.
From a staff point of view our SLT, created by Neill is actually a dream team. We all have our own roles and responsibilities within the team and we are all supportive of each other. What more could we ask.
I have said previously that amongst all the wonderful things Neill has brought to Highfurlong two things stand out for me, music and laughter. We have carols around the piano at Christmas for the staff, we have impromptu singing and playing of the piano from Neill and he joins in our musical productions at Christmas and summer. As you can imagine, the children love this.
This last few weeks, like all Head Teachers and school staff Neill has been on constant high alert regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. We have had teams of people in school making food deliveries to our families. We have delivered Easter eggs to all our children and we have ensured we have heard from every single family each week. This has not been easy, but when you work in a supportive team like ours the task is much easier to complete.
It has now been almost 3 weeks since we were all together in school. This has been playing on Neill’s mind. Yesterday he put together a short video in appreciation of all key workers playing their part in helping us through these difficult days. He also wanted to thank all our families and all our staff for their part in keeping everyone’s spirits up. Have a listen to the video. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that he is one superb Head Teacher. Please share as his video deserves to be heard. You can follow Neill on Twitter @NeillOldham