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North Yorkshire County CouncilNorth Yorkshire County Council

End of year blog

Posted 21/6/2021

Hello and happy July!

I can’t quite believe we’re coming to the end of yet another academic year! The past two years of being in this role has absolutely flown by and I feel like the global pandemic might have something to do with that (odd as those joyful days of home learning seemed to last a lifetime…) we really have had quite a lot of “normal” life taken away from us.

Another gigantic move away from our “normal” is the very sad loss of Nickie Young in the role of Service Children’s Champion.  I know you’re reading this and I still haven’t forgiven you for leaving me, Nickie!! All joking aside, Nickie has worked tirelessly in improving the wellbeing of our county’s Service pupils and has left such a massive legacy behind her. I think I can speak for all of us when I say how grateful we are for all she has done for our Service families over her years in the role and I will do my best to continue the amazing work she has put into place.

On that note – an update of our work in schools! The Catterick Garrison and Richmondshire schools I’m sure have felt the loss of Nickie over the past few weeks, but the CFSWs who took over some of the ongoing groups up there have done a fabulous job of wrapping up the input for this academic year. I have had a very exciting week so far, handing out goody bags to six different Five Ways to Wellbeing and Wellbeing Warriors groups, which are all ending this week! I think we are all ready for the summer holidays; it’s a very well-deserved break for all school staff and pupils who have had such a tough couple of years adapting to school life during the COVID19 pandemic but have all done such a fantastic job. Fingers crossed for September.

The Festival of Friends project came to a close on the 30th June last month with a fabulous virtual awards ceremony which was held online. A massive thank you to the FoF committee who worked so hard on pulling it all together. It’s been tough at times to keep the project going given all that’s been going on but we had some fantastic and determined schools involved who adapted their projects so well and ultimately contributed some absolutely amazing projects. The results of the FoF project competition were:

Primary Schools

Winner

  • Wavell school with Trooper the Tortoise

Runners up

  • Great Ouseburn
  • Linton on Ouse
  • Applegarth

Special mention

  • Le Cateau with the NMKC choir

Secondary schools

Winner

  • Boroughbridge High School with Y9/10 Service Children’s Careers Project

Runner up

  • Joseph Rowntree School

A link to the Festival of Friends case studies booklet which includes so many shining examples of good practice in supporting Service pupils will be sent out at the beginning of the Autumn term - something to look forward to for September!

The virtual ceremony itself included campus tours of both York St John University and the University of York, songs from the amazing NMKC choir and videos of the schools’ wonderful projects. We were very honoured to have an appearance from Tanni Grey-Thompson who gave a gorgeous, inspiring speech to the Service children, and Steve Royle (comedian and finalist of Britain’s Got Talent 2019) who provided an absolutely fantastic and lively performance, managing to engage everybody so brilliantly via video call.

If you get any spare time over the summer and would like to watch the recording of the Festival of Friends virtual awards ceremony, you can find it here: Festival of Friends Celebration - YouTube and also at the end of the blog.

The Never Such Innocence project is hosting FREE online poetry workshops for children of Navy families on Tuesday 27th July, children of RAF families on Wednesday 28th July, and children of Army families on Thursday 29th July - all from 4pm – 5.15pm. You can book on to the workshop via Katie Salari ks@neversuchinnocence.com. Please pass on to anybody you know who may be interested.

The next SFSG meeting will take place on Tuesday 12th October at 9.30am – please email me if you wish to be included in this.

Finally – the planning for the Ripon Cathedral Service to Remember for North Yorkshire’s Service Children 2021 is well underway, with lots of schools already signed up to be involved in the service and some wonderful VIPs already confirmed as attending. Don’t forget to put the date and time in your diaries – Friday 12th November at 1pm – the link will be sent out for the live streaming in the run up to the event!

I am so excited for this year’s theme of “100 years of the poppy”; the artwork and contributions linked to the theme will be absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to see what our amazing Service children produce. Please do contact me ASAP if your school wishes to be involved directly in the service.

I wish you all a wonderful summer and I look forward to starting a new year together in September.

Jess

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