I have been pleased that I have been pointed in the direction of all sorts of schools with a mixture of styles, abilities and challenges. This was my first visit to a secondary school in my recent tour of the county.
I was met by Ben Slade, the principle. What a fine example of an inspirational leader dedicated to driving up standards in a pragmatic way. He was also excellent company.
I had a chat with a group of mixed aged children and discussed a range of issues. I found them polite, restrained (no one grabbed any of the biscuits on offer, although I was not able to resist) and all smartly dressed in uniform. Ben was keen that he was not in the room so I could hear the children with out any influence from him. I was surprised how shy they were.
We discussed how difficult they felt the transition to a secondary school was, how they like attending a relatively small school and how difficult it felt when everyone felt that Arbury was a rough place to live when it fact the opposite is true.
The teaching seemed lively, interesting and so much better than the chalk and talk techniques that I remember from school.
Ben was so obviously proud of the school and with some reason. This school continues to improve and felt like a good place to send a child. This is reflected in the growing number of parents who are registering their children for the Manor.
I left thinking that this school is suffering, as are the children, because of a prejudice. A prejudice against a community that feels wrong. Compare Arbury with any number of cities around the country and it could never be classed as rough.
I have pledged to do what ever I can to support this school and community.
Thank you for your kind words, Ben has certainly been absolutely instrumental in turning the Manor around and can be rightly very proud of what he’s achieved It’s also right that his achievements are acknowledged by as wider audience as possible.
Hopefully in a couple of years time we can have you back to see how we made it to Outstanding!
Chair of Governors, The Manor
Cambridgeshire County Councillor, King’s Hedges