(BLOG) Renovating the School… The summer isn’t a time for us to stop…

Demi McDowellBlog, Full Circle Education Group, Independent School Cumbria, News & Events, St Bees School, Uncategorized2 Comments

Author: Derek Todd, Director of Operations and Finance
The inevitable question…

The inevitable question when you work in a school…

“Have a great holiday…”

It would be idyllic to think the school hibernated over those long summer weeks.  After the (organised) chaos of being full of children for 10 and a half months of the year, sometimes, we all need a rest.  The students, running out on the last day of term, have weeks ahead of themselves… they have days and days, where “life” exists beyond 5:30pm and bedtime becomes a fictionalised concept.  Where ice creams become a staple food and the previous year’s uniform instantly outgrown.  Where friends (yes – even from other schools!) are met up with and where staying at home and rediscovering how to build a den is on the top of a priority list.  Where winding up parents becomes the new homework, and dodging chores becomes an art.

So during those never-ending weeks, is the school really in hibernation?  Well, no.  In fact, those few precious weeks give us the much needed time and space to really make a difference, in a different way, to the educational lives of our students.

Once the doors close…

Above: work being carried out in one of the School House common rooms. Below: a finished area of the School House common room.

As soon as the doors close on the last day of term, we get to work.  This is our opportunity to ‘make a mess’ and then ‘make it right’ before the start of the new academic year.  In that sense, it is incredibly exciting.  We have a limited timescale, a lot of work to complete, and need to be properly organised in ensuring we manage to get it all done, despite all of our contractors having lots of other schools with the same priority.

At St Bees, it would be a lie to say this wasn’t a challenge.  With a small staff and in an area where tradesmen are great but in short supply, we have to be creative…

Recent highlights

A recent highlight… the arrival of the new minibus.  We have a beautiful new 8-seater Citroen MPV, perfect for picking up and dropping off in the mornings and evenings and which can also be used for small class outings.  I am particularly pleased it is black; a real change from every other school I know of.

Another highlight… bringing a new Science lab back on line.  Yes, we won’t deny the closure of St Bees did happen.  Yes, we won’t deny that we now do need to breathe new life into the closed rooms and labs.  And yes, we won’t deny that this takes time, money, sheer hard work, plus a fair amount of clearing out, but we are proud of everything we have achieved in the past 18 months to get us to where we are today – and that is down to the unfailing hard work and determination of the team.  School House, our fabulous 52-bed boarding house, was renovated last summer and for the first time in four years, was full to the beams with international and UK students during our STEAM Forest School.  That’s when you know everyone’s hard work has paid off.

One of our recently refurbished bedrooms in School House

Next on the cards

Our challenges over the coming weeks?  There are just too many to list, but one which I’m most excited about is installing a new computer suite, with 11 stations and a teaching desk.  Can it be done in time?  Of course.  Will it benefit the students?  Undoubtedly.   Is it worth it?  Unquestionably.  Will it make a mess?  Most definitely.  But will it be amazing?  Come and see for yourself…

2 Comments on “(BLOG) Renovating the School… The summer isn’t a time for us to stop…”

  1. Great to see all this renovation happening, and all the positive vibes coming from the school’s regular reports. Keep up the good work, everyone. It will all pay off in the end.

    1. Hi Jill, thank you for your lovely comment. We’re glad you like the updates (plenty more to come) – it is definitely ‘all go’ at the moment preparing for September!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *