Now and again the children ask me what I do. I’ve been asked, ‘What do Heads do?’ and ‘Ms Lyle, what do you have to do each day?’ and ‘Are you the boss of the whole school?’
I always respond by saying that I think I have the best job in the world. I am responsible for a school I adore. To the older pupils I say that my work is busy and varied; one minute I might be giving out Commendations, then I might be interviewing a new teacher, followed by a meeting to approve the plans for a new playground. No day is ever the same and everything I do is interesting. To the younger pupils, I simply say that all of the teachers are one big team and I am the captain of the team. They understand that.
There are days when I focus on curriculum development and days when I focus on observing teaching and learning. On other days I might be writing a report for our Governors and then attending a match or performance. Interspersed are the ‘little things’ that aren’t actually little at all: consoling a pupil who scraped their knee, listening to the Head of School rehearse a speech, congratulating a teacher whose team has won a competition, sitting with children at lunch discussing the best puddings, or sending a letter to a family who have lost a grandparent. I am part of a very special community of pupils, families and staff, and I think being a Head is the best job in the world. To use a World Book Day metaphor, St Christopher’s is the Hogwarts to my Dumbledore.
As we celebrate World Book Day, I want to take a moment to thank books. Books are integral to my life as an educator and they are vitally important to every teacher and pupil in every school. Books help me as a parent. Books help me as a person. Books take us on journeys. Books show us places we could never have imagined. Books shine mirrors into our own lives. Books make us laugh and sometimes cry. Books are lifelong friends that we delight in introducing to others. At St Christopher’s, we celebrate the interests and talents of our children as individuals, but there is one aspect in which they should all be the same: St Christopher’s children should be readers. If you struggle to get your child to engage with books, please ask our teachers for advice. I firmly believe that there are no children who don’t like reading, just those who haven’t found the right book yet!
Lastly, I will write to you separately with exciting news about the development next door. You will have seen the changes in the past few weeks and I will send an update shortly.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head