The role of individuals and interest groups in supporting Ridgway School - part 2
It is fabulous to have so many people in our community bringing their expertise and enthusiasm to support the school. Our volunteers play an important role in making Ridgway School a great place for learning. People that bring their skills and tools to contribute at Ridgway School make an enormous difference to the well-being and success of our children How could this ever go wrong?
When people are passionate about particular areas, and are also motivated by a strong desire to contribute for the good of the community, they are among the greatest assets a school has. The problem comes when there are many groups, each pursuing a different goal aligned to their particular area of passion. When the ideas and goals of people in these interest groups no longer aligns with the vision of the school, or cannot be supported by the resources that the school has available, there is bound to be disappointment.
It can be difficult for people to understand why their area of passion has not been elevated above the passion of other groups and they may even feel that their voice is not being heard. Why is the outdoor environment prioritised over the inside of classrooms and why purchase a basketball hoop instead of more books for the library? Some of us would like to see more money spent on the arts while others dream of shade sails or vegetable gardens that children gather food from to cook and eat. Each of these things is worthwhile and strong arguments can be put for all of them. More examples can be found also. What is clear to most of us is that not all of these things can be achieved at once, and some brilliant ideas for Ridgway School simply have to wait their time and turn.
The projects undertaken by a various groups must align to the school vision, charter goals and annual plan that have been set out by the Board of Trustees. It is the role of the Board to set the priorities for the school. They hold the ‘big picture’ for the long term good of the school, and must find the delicate balance between the competing needs of different areas and the competing passions of various interest groups. It is inevitable that some people will be disappointed at decisions that are made when these decisions do not favour their own views.
This is the reality of schools. We can’t do everything that we dream of as we are not provided limitless funding. Sometimes the one thing some of us see as being the most important is not the thing that gets the attention. Volunteers and members of interest groups that work on behalf of the school must understand that despite the passion and knowledge that they may bring in a particular area, things may not always happen as they would like. I am grateful that by far the majority of school volunteers understand the limits of their role as a volunteer, and indeed the limits that we must all work within. It is with this understanding that our many groups are able to work together to ensure that we continue to make Ridgway School the vibrant and positive place of learning that it has become.
To all our parents that have carried out voluntary work of any kind, thank you for your contribution, you’ve made a difference.