Some people believe that school is what happens between 8.30 and four o'clock, claiming it is all about classroom learning. Whilst academic endeavour and success are important, these successes become even greater when packaged in the broader sense of learning and, in that, we have the wider school community. No more so than this weekend has this been borne out at Beech Hall. The last two days, we really have seen evidence of learning at the heart of the community.
It all began at 6am on Friday as the first group of girls launched the #ThisGirlCan 97-mile Cheshire Ring Challenge. Upwards of eighty girls, from the age of 5 to 73, would follow during the following thirty-six hours. With time out of class to take part, some extended their commitment, staying to walk further stretches of the course alongside teachers, mothers, aunts and friends. Despite the drizzle, Friday ended with the familiar Family Swim as children splashed and steam emanated from the water.
As the pool closed it was a quick suit change and time to meet pupils back at school at 7 o'clock for a tractor ride to The Tytherington Club for the Leavers' Prom, a celebration for those in Upper V moving on to the next stages of their learning journey. The following morning saw five of them and three staff head South to Gloucestershire for the practice expedition for their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award. At the time of writing (Sunday evening) they are still away and will not return until late Monday afternoon, exhausted no doubt but successful in their efforts.
When a school is fortunate enough to enjoy wonderful facilities, there is a certain obligation to share these with other members of our local community. This was very evident on Saturday as three separate children's groups enjoyed a pool party, a football birthday party on the astro pitch, and a family barbecue on the lawn, all bringing with them friends and extended family members. Countless pre-schoolers had already poured through the school that morning for Diddikicks in our gymnasium, further extending the use of our facilities to the Macclesfield community. More groups of girls met at school for the final stages of the Challenge, some of them decidedly green from the afternoon's Bubble Rush at Alderley Park.
As the last of the party-goers left, it was time for our triumphant group of girls to return to school, headed by Becca herself, swathed in pink and black ticker tape. More than seventy people spent the ensuing three hours enjoying the swimming pool (thanks to Katie in Upper V for lifeguarding), a wonderful barbecue (thanks to familiar dads for cooking, and other parents for helping set up), and the afterglow of a fantastic event (thanks to Jenny and Tandy for some immense preparation and organisation). As I locked up the last of the buildings at eight o'clock, I was proud of the many opportunities that Beech Hall had afforded its pupils, families and members of the community this weekend. Beech Hall really is a school at the heart of our community.
Most of all I am incredibly proud of our girls for stepping up to the challenge - to those who walked immense distances, to those who walked through the night, to our youngest who walked without complaint, to our runners for helping us complete well inside the target time of thirty-six hours, and to so many parents, colleagues and friends who have, this weekend, proved that #ThisBeechHallGirlCan!
Mr J D Allen