Spending time in another person’s world.

As I prepared to leave school today for the last time today (well I am  welcome back but I won’t be a regular employee any more) I was reflecting on my experiences over the past 5 months with Sheila – the wonderful Headteacher.

And through that thinking process it occurs to me that I have had the opportunity to be in someone else’s world for a while and how interesting that has been.

Firstly  – geographically.

Until I went to Forthview I had never set foot in Pilton. I knew where it was ( roughly) but I knew nothing else first hand. I was aware from reading the local press that it is one of the poorer ( in wealth terms ) areas of the city. The school was built 4 years ago on the site of the old one. It is surrounded by a variety of quality of houses/flats.

When I told people that I was working in Pilton many made comments on how -  in their view – that would be tough.

OK – there are prettier places to drive into. But it is an area in which extended families have put down roots and stay so it sure has something going for it.

Then – socially.

I have had the privilege of meeting and working with some lovely children – and from time to time I got to meet their parents. The majority are doing their best to support their children in their education. For some their families have lived in the area for years, others settled there some time ago and the children are first generation Scots from immigrant families, others are brand new to Scotland and living in the area for the time being until they can make longer term plans. The children are in a bright and well kept building and are taught by staff who want nothing but the best for them.

And finally professionally

Although I have been working with teachers for some time it had not been as part of a school team. My role as Business Manager allowed me to spend time with everyone for one reason or another. I have an increased awareness of what goes into providing an education for children – in skills,talents, personalities, teams . And of course the extraordinary amount of paperwork attached. I have seen the challenges of timetabling and ensuring everything required is included and how getting time to chat to colleagues has to be limited to breaks -occasionally over coffee but often spent in preparation.

So my world has been expanded.

It would be doing the people I have met a great disservice if I did not mention the significant issues that affect people living with tough realities in the community there though. My awareness of the number of agencies that support children and their families has also been raised and that is encouraging.

This has been  – without question – one of the most rewarding periods of my life.