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North Yorkshire County CouncilNorth Yorkshire County Council

Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out!

Posted 6/5/2021

Hello from my sunlit desk – it makes a change, yesterday I had to close the windows because the driving rain and snow were coming in!  It’s a bit different from last May when Jess was commenting on the gorgeous weather!

Everything is a bit different from last year though isn’t it?  We have all had to change the way we work and live in response to the global pandemic, Jess and I have tried to make the work we do accessible even when we haven’t been able to be in schools.  Just in case you were wondering, filming myself reading stories was not something I thought I would ever do, let alone share them on YouTube!  (they’re still available though – please feel free to use them / share them!). I am so glad that the world is starting to open up and things are slowly returning to normal.

I think the impact of the last year will be with us for a while.  Many of you know that my husband is a musician, he has been at home with us since he caught the last pre-lockdown flight from New York to the UK last March.  We have been together for 27 years – I have never spent so much time with him!  It has been lovely but he is very much looking forward to getting back to playing music for adoring audiences and being with people who speak Scottish!  Home at the moment is a bit tense, our son is in the middle of GCSE’s.  Well, what currently passes for GCSE’s!  He has had so many tests, almost daily since he went back to school, it has been stressful for him and us! I can’t imagine how difficult it is for teachers at the moment, they must be exhausted!  I’ve got my fingers crossed for a good outcome for all of us.

The slow lifting of restrictions means Jess and I have been able to get back into schools and work with groups of children presenting our Five Ways to Wellbeing and Wellbeing Warriors.  It has been brilliant!  We have had so much fun working together and working with the children, they are amazing!  At the end of every session we collect their thoughts, this is from Week 2 – Be Active:

Word cloud describing Year 6 children's thoughts about the Five Ways to Wellbeing: Be Active sessionWord cloud describing Year 6 children's thoughts about the Five Ways to Wellbeing: Be Active session




As you can see, Year 6 can be brutally honest!  Which is why we love them! 

During lockdown last year Jess and I collected ‘Coronavirus Chat’s’ from children across the County.  We thought they were so much fun that we’re bringing them back!  The new chats will be published on our website and social media pages soon.

The Festival of Friends project is drawing to a close, we’re looking forward to what promises to be a brilliant Celebration Event on the 30th of June.  VIPs’ Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Steve Royale will host the event but the stars will be the schools who have been working on their projects for such a long time now.  I have had a chance to read some of the case studies from the Catterick & Richmond group of schools and I can honestly say I am very glad I won’t be involved in choosing the winning project, I think they’re all brilliant!

Some time ago An Invisible Man Productions toured schools in North Yorkshire with a production written especially for us: Wherever Home Is.  Stephen Burke has been in touch to say that this, and other productions by the company, have been filmed and are now available for schools to use at  There is a ‘about the production’ page on the website which gives a preview of the production, you can then purchase the workshop for use in school.

You may be pleased to hear that bidding for the 2022 MOD Education Support Fund is now open.  This year’s ESF has £3 million to award, and applications can be accepted from state schools, free schools and academies in the UK with Service pupils on roll. Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of exceptional impact of mobility and/or separation and how the funding would help mitigate the effects.  The bidding round will remain open until Thursday 30 September 2021. For more details please refer to the ESF application pack on

Last week it was confirmed that our annual Armed Forces Day for Children event on Catterick Garrison cannot go ahead this year.  Asking 900 children and additional school & military staff to gather together is not sensible in the current climate.  That doesn’t mean that I won’t miss it though!  I think I have told you before it is my favourite day of the academic year!

I hope you all have a lovely month, fingers crossed it gets a bit warmer soon!



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