Bring Your Grown Up To School

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in News | No Comments

Treacherously excited…..  A bit nervous…   Been looking forward to it for a while…  Will I see anyone I know?  Will I need a pen? What if I get lost!?  Typical questions for a new start to school.

But this isn’t September.  And these aren’t brand new Year 7 students.  This is Bring Your Grown-Up To School Day at saltash.net and having left the echoes of school corridors behind years ago, nearly 120 brave mums, dads, grans, aunties, brothers and sisters returned to school this week.

Far from being nervous themselves, Year 7 students were bursting with enthusiasm to show off their new school to their families – nearly half a term in now and the Year 7s are like old hands.  While gran or mum might have been expecting to knuckle down to some old-style “Reading Writing and ‘Rithmetic” they were instead introduced to the wonderful world of Integrated Learning and the truly saltash.net-style approach towards learning.

The challenge was for groups of students (and their grown-ups) to convince our stern judge that their candidate for the title “Cornish Hero” was indeed the most heroic.  (Actually not that stern a judge – Deputy Headteacher Mrs Griffin did her best to look serious and intractable, but it’s not in her nature and Bring Your Grown-Up To School is one of her favourite days of the school calendar!)

Fortified with a good cup of morning coffee the grown-ups quickly got drawn into the mood of enthusiasm and curiosity that Year 7s show for their learning.  Was there anything heroic about the locally-born Captain Bligh?  Surely in all the movies he’s the baddie?  Who was Callington-born Selina Cooper?  How do you pronounce the native Cornish words of old Dolly Pentreath?  An ingenious mix of high-tech smartphones, brightly-coloured information banks and infectious collaboration quickly answered those questions.  The race was on to win the challenge.

It’s amazing how competitive some grown-ups can be … and that’s just the teachers!  Some questions will remain unanswered (which is possibly for the best).  Where did Mr Oakes and the St Piran group get all those metres of blue fabric from?  Was it admirable initiative or an unfair advantage that saw Mrs Venner’s group come by the keys to the Music Department’s drum cupboard?  The cardboard, glue, paint, tissue paper and pipe-cleaners were a blur as the groups got going.

So Mrs Griffin’s judging job was harder than ever.  The ingenuity of the students was astounding and the grown-up participation was whole-hearted.  Staff from across the school sneaked in to the show-and-share assembly to watch all the finished work.  “HMS Bounty” sailed across the hall;  a whole tropical bio dome of exotic plants and fauna fluttered in; a stirring campaign for “Votes for Women!” was waged; benevolent St Piran converted hordes of timid(-ish) wild animals; and the “Song of the Western Men” rang out loud and true.  There wasn’t a soul in the hall who didn’t jump sky-high at beat behind the Cornish-language rap and the dimmed lights in respect for the crew of the Penlee Lifeboat produced a poignant pause for all.

In the end it was agreed that it wasn’t the winning (as they say) but it really was all about the taking part.  The students had been fearing that dreaded “Oh Mu-um..!” moment all day (Mr Rowe does like to call this “Embarrass Your Child Day” after all), but had to agree it hadn’t been embarrassing at all.  Their pride in their new school and confidence with their new learning styles was evident.  The grown-ups enjoyed a day of working side-by-side with their children, sharing in their saltash.net experience.  “It was surprising how much can be done with enthusiasm and creativity!” commented one parent.  Another was pleased to note how the “kids took the lead in a lot of the learning.”   One grandmother said how much she had enjoyed working with her granddaughter and “seeing and experiencing the enthusiasm of the students.”  Far from being apprehensive about returning to school the grown-ups left enthused.  “Thank you” commented one parent as they left at the end of the day.  “I’m looking forward to coming back in again for another Bring Your Grown Up To School Day!”