Monday November 28th 2016
Gore Glen Primary School Head Teacher Pauline Marr
Phil Bowen, editor
Midlothian has great teachers delivering great lessons every day to the children of Midlothian.
Last week I was present at the opening of Gore Glen Primary school by Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education John Swinney. I was particularly struck by the speech made by Head Teacher Mrs Pauline Marr. It was detailed, carefully written, well thought out, obviously caring and inspirational.
I asked Mrs Marr to send me a copy of the speech, which she kindly has, as I think it is easy for adults and parents to be blissfully unaware sometimes of the quality of the teaching that goes on. Mrs Marr’s speech typifies this quality. So here is the speech in full below, I hope you enjoy it too.
“It has taken me a number of attempts to capture my thoughts and feelings on paper for today. Each attempt proved to be very emotional and, not understanding why initially, I convinced myself I had something ‘more urgent’ to do on several occasions in order to avoid putting pen to paper. On reflection, I realise that this has been an emotional experience because being Head Teacher at Gore Glen matters so much to me and I am truly grateful and proud to be a part of this community and share in this amazing experience.
“When I was first appointed as Head Teacher and still at the point where I had to suppress the urge to jump up and down a little each time I was congratulated, some of my friends and colleagues voiced concern at the enormity of the role … Starting a brand new school from scratch, where would I begin? But I didn’t have any concern about this because for me it was simple – I begin with children and for children.
“The writer, Christopher Moore said, ‘Children see magic because they look for it’ and for me, starting a brand new school from scratch, starting this brand new school from scratch, affords us the opportunity to look for the magic, led by our children.
“So, who are we here at Gore Glen? Let me start by explaining who we are not. We are not a new school; we are not a new school with a nursery and we are not a new school with a nursery and a provision. We are a new school community working together, in partnership to get it right for every single child in our community. We are a school community where inclusion, equity and integration are of utmost importance and are the foundations for us.
“In our community, children are central; everything is built around the child. We recognise that children are individuals and each child has so much to learn and so much to teach. And so, at this point, I want to hand over to our children at Gore Glen as they will be able to explain who we are much better than I can do!”
At this point the pupils of Gore Glen Primary school stood up and each said what they thought about their new school and what Gore Glen means to them.
Mr Marrs continued:
“For us at Gore Glen, we recognise that ‘one size fits one’ and we learn and teach on this basis, so that our children can become confident individuals, effective contributors, successful learners and responsible citizens.
“Michelangelo once said, ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.’
“This is our mantra at Gore Glen. We believe that every child can achieve anything they put their mind to and we strive to help each child realise this. Our expectations are extremely high for our children because we know they can do it if they try!
“We are not prepared to support our children to reach their full potential. Why should we restrict them in this way? At Gore Glen we support our children to ‘soar beyond their full potential’ with only the sky as their limit. We challenge our children to dare to dream because in daring, their dreams can come true.
“Our vision is this: At Gore Glen we flourish as a community in a safe, secure learning environment. Everyone is valued and every voice is heard enabling us to soar beyond our full potential. All learners have fun, ooze happiness and are passionate for learning that last a lifetime in an ever-changing world.
“Our vision is ambitious ; it is aspirational; it is possible.
“And so, to paraphrase the poem written by Warren Hanson:
“This is the Beginning…
This is where it all will start,
on the wings of some new spirit with the beat of some new heart.
Every morning brings a promise,
Every day has gifts to give,
But today…right now…this minute….
“And the air that we are breathing is the breeze of what could be,
as we stand here looking out on all the things that could be.
And the road that goes before us, leading somewhere out of sight,
is a brand new opportunity for us to get it right.
This is the beginning. This is Once Upon a Time….
There are dragons to be vanquished! There are castle walls to climb!
But this story isn’t written yet.
We’re only on page One.
The adventure that’s awaiting us has only just begun.”