Headmaster Phillip Makhouli has just completed his first month at Skippers and he’s loved every moment of it!
To many it may have seemed like a crazy time to begin your first headship, however not so at Skippers Hill! I took over at Skippers, a thriving Independent Prep School just outside Mayfield, in September of this year and have been mightily impressed by the whole community.
My working life and teaching career has been incredibly rewarding and varied. I began my working life as an electrical engineer in the nuclear industry before moving into teaching in the state sector in both rural Scotland and inner-city London and then most recently eight years in the independent sector at Holmewood House. I was on the Senior Leadership Team, as well as Head of Maths and Director of Teaching and Learning.
My experiences have not only taught me the value of what schools bring to a community but also the untold potential of our children.
It is an honour to be the Headmaster at Skippers and the children and people here are extremely passionate about our school. The provision at Skippers during lockdown was exemplary and we have been determined that even with the restrictions, we are to offer new and dynamic opportunities that will provide an education that is even better than before. I believe we have achieved this. This has been possible because of our dedicated staff and the full engagement of our children and parents in everything we are trying to achieve here.
The school day has been designed to be as close to normality as possible with the children’s welfare our top priority. It became obvious in the first few days that the children were so happy to be back, with one delightful boy in Reception class shouting as he skipped in on his first day, “Today is going to be the best day ever!”. Two weeks later he was having a whoopsy whiffling time turning his classroom into a Chocolate Factory during our celebrations of Roald Dahl, ably assisted by his teachers! In the Early Years we capture the interest of our children as they have a natural desire to learn, explore and question. Currently we are taking full advantage of our beautiful grounds, in which our Mud Kitchen, tree climbing area, secret dens and storytelling circle can be found.
Our timetable is now more dynamic and diverse including:
- Our Global, Social and Ethics (GSE) programme is a forward-looking approach based on the latest research into learning, which builds 21st century skills to prepare our pupils for the future. This now runs from Year 5 up to Year 8.
- Instead of fixtures on a Wednesday and Thursday afternoon we now take Years 3 – 8 up to Bowles to engage in activities which would not normally be part of the curriculum. These include team building, bouldering, kayaking, archery to name a few! The team at Bowles have been fantastic throughout and we are delighted to be supporting a local business.
- Our beautiful woodlands and meadows are perfect for our Outdoor Learning programme which now runs up to Year 6. The programme is designed to make learning meaningful and purposeful as well as helping to develop an appreciation of all natural and living things from an early age.
- Our WiFi network has been upgraded throughout, enhancing our provision and allowing us to accommodate any potential eventuality.
As you might be able to tell our theme this term is ‘seeking challenge to positively enhance our lives and others around us’. We have all adopted this attitude and we are positive that Skippers has returned better than ever!
As part of my induction into school we filmed a new “Question Time” video where the most important people in our community, our children, could interview me asking any question they liked. I hope you enjoy the video!
The team and I are also delighted to be welcoming prospective parents to our October Open Week from Monday 12th October 2020 where parents can book an appointment to come for a tour of our school, meet myself and the team, and have any questions answered. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we can only allow families with pre-booked appointments to come along so if you would like to attend, please contact the school office on 01825 830 234 or go to Skippers Hill Jump Right In to register your interest.
This is a collaborative post.