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Bawburgh Voices: Carla Stedman

Mary Wilkinson meets Carla Stedman, the new Head at Bawburgh School. Carla lives in Wymondham with partner Lee, daughter Emi (5), son George (22 months), and two ginger kittens.

What attracted you to teaching? "I've always wanted to be a teacher; I was inspired by my Year Four teacher, Mrs Jones. She was nurturing, caring and strict when necessary. She made me feel I could achieve. When I was in Year 10 we moved from Kent to Norfolk; I went to Hethersett High, and then to City College to do a degree in Human Biology with Psychology."

Where did you teach before coming to Bawburgh? "I started in 2005 at South Harford Middle School. In 2007, the school amalgamated with Tuckswood First, and became Tuckswood Community Primary School, and then Tuckswood Primary Academy. I was there until 2016."

What was it about Bawburgh School that attracted you? "After I'd been Assistant Head, Deputy Head and Acting Head at Tuckwood, I wanted to be Head myself, so started looking around. Then the chance came to apply for the headship here. I've been aware of Bawburgh since I was 15. The village has a lovely reputation. My family often came to the Kings Head for meals. I immediately had a lovely feeling about the school."

What is your impression of the school so far? "It's family-orientated, nurturing. Staff are welcoming, professional, good at what they do, open to change. This is not my school, it's our school. Parents love the school: they're very supportive, very protective. They're challenging of me if I want to change anything, and I expect and welcome that. It's their school as well. We hope to empower the children, encourage them to succeed, give them the building blocks for life, encourage qualities such as collaboration, resilience, initiative, creativity, curiosity and reflection."

How many children are currently on roll? "A hundred and eight . 14% are from Bawburgh; others are from Costessey, Bowthorpe, Norwich and Hethersett."

What are the challenges for staff and pupils in a small rural school? "Staff don't have colleagues teaching the same year group with whom they can plan their work. Each class is mixed-age so has to cater for two different curricula. There isn't enough funding for a teaching assistant in every class. Each teacher has to 'lead' on several subjects, not just one. For the children there are smaller year groups, so less choice of friends."

And the positives? "We all know each other; staff and pupils form strong relationships. The school is family-centred and prides itself on its caring ethos. The teachers work incredibly hard to support each other, to run after-school, break and lunch-time clubs."

How do you see the relationship between village and school? "It's very important. I'd like to be more involved e.g. in the Village Hall Committee of which Mrs Staff was a member. We do serve the community. There's the Over 60s Lunch here every fortnight. We take every opportunity to have parents in school; each term, every class runs a Maths Cafe, Parent Assembly and Parent lunch. We welcome parent volunteers to help with reading and group work."

How do you like to spend your spare time? "At weekends  with the family; ballet lessons for my daughter, children's parties, going to the zoo and shopping.

What is your favourite music? "I enjoy listening to Keith Urban, an American Country musician. His music is easy-listening, quite soulful and thought -provoking."

If you were marooned on a desert island what couldn't you manage without? My charm bracelet with charms given to me by my family and friends."

Who are the people you admire, and why? "My previous Headteacher, Diane Barker, for her tenacity and resilience. She went out of her way to mentor me so I could do this role. My parents who are supportive, understanding and relentless in their confidence in me. They've always said 'You can do this.' They're the kind of parent I would want to be. My partner is an amazing Daddy, an incredible support to me."

How would your partner/family/friends, staff/pupils describe you?  Family, partner, friends would say I'm genuine, open, honest and too hard on myself. I hope the staff would say I'm understanding, supportive and include them in decisions. I hope the children know they can talk to me if they have a problem."

Can you tell me something surprising about yourself? "I'm an archery instructor! I'd like to start archery here as an after-school club."

Thanks, Carla, it's been lovely to hear your enthusiastic commitment to Bawburgh School. For those people who fought to keep it open (33 years ago) it must be heartening to know its really flourishing in the safe hands of you and your staff.

Mary Wilkinson    



All change at Bawburgh School


At the end of term in December 2016, four long-standing members of staff will move on from the Bawburgh School. They are Mrs Staff, the Headteacher, Mrs Beverley, a teacher, Mrs Kirkendall, the school's Finance Officer and secretary and Mr Prior, the school's caretaker.

With a combined service of more than fifty years, the school is going to miss their experience. Mrs Staff has been Headteacher for eight years having worked at the school as a teacher before that. She leaves the school with a rating of 'Good', an increase in pupil numbers and a very happy welcoming place to learn.

The four agreed they would miss the people at the school, Mrs Kirkendall pointed out that "many have become friends. As a small school with not many staff, you don't realise how close you become to them, they feel like family." They each have very different plans for the future. Mrs Beverley intends to spend more time with her grandchildren and will also do some voluntary work on the North Norfolk Railway. Mr Prior is looking forward to exploring Norfolk and enjoying life. Mre Kirkendall is looking for another part-time job with hours which suit her better.

The new Headteacher is Carla Steadman, who worked previously at Tuckswood Primary School. We hope to interview her for Bawburgh News shortly.

We would like to thank all the departing staff for their work with the children of Bawburgh and wish them all the best for the future.




Headteacher's leaving presents

At the school's Christmas performance, Mrs Staff, the outgoing Headteacher, was presented with a rose for her garden. The rose had been named by the school as the 'Bawburgh Rose'. Mrs Staff thanked everyone for her many gifts, cards and good wishes. As a leaving present to the school, Mrs Staff wanted to give something to the school for the benefit of the children. She said, "the children are very much enjoying the new adventure playground which has really enhanced the school outdoor provision. I would like to enhance this further, so I am gifting the children a 'living' farewell present - a willow dome and play tunnel. I hope to organise these over the holiday so the children can help to plant the willows."



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