Parents' delight as new head brings changes

The Forest School has been a great success at Ruswarp School
The Forest School has been a great success at Ruswarp School

Ruswarp School’s new headteacher has brought innovation to the school and opened up a whole range of new and exciting options for her pupils.

When Helen Tillson took over as headteacher at Ruswarp Primary School in January, she wasted no time at all in ringing the changes.

Mary and Headteacher Helen Tillson enjoy some forest adventures

Mary and Headteacher Helen Tillson enjoy some forest adventures

The former Stakesby School deputy head said: “When I arrived at the school, the first thing I did was talk to the parents and ask them what they wanted to see.”

The responses came quickly. Parents felt there was a lack of communication, so Mrs Tillson relaunched the school Facebook page and weekly newsletter, and now greets parents on arrival each day.

Before Mrs Tillson arrived the after-school provision finished at 4.30pm; she has introduced a breakfast club which runs from 8am every day and a popular after-school club providing care until 5.15pm five days a week.

The after-school club is always popular and Mrs Tillson said: “A lot of those who come attend not because they need the after-school care, but rather because they want to take part in the activities.” There are arts and crafts, movie nights, a Hama bead club, board games nights and tech nights.

Enjoying some forest fun near Ruswarp School

Enjoying some forest fun near Ruswarp School

Other extra curricular activities include fitness sessions, with Kirstie Long of Dazzle Fit, to address the lack of sports provision raised by parents. Kirstie runs two sessions a week, one for the infants and one for the juniors.

The headteacher has also opened up a piece of land which had been locked away for two years, creating a “Forest School” learning environment which seems to be going down well with her pupils.

Enter the EYFS classroom and you are transported to a world of pirate ships, treasure maps and sunken chests. Mrs Tillson, who still teaches one afternoon a week, explained: “We change our topics every half term, emergency services was particularly popular, we even had a lifeboat and a jail!” There are costumes aplenty, and what really strikes you is the feeling of energy which bursts not only from this classroom, but from every section of the school.

And what do the children think of all this? When asked what their opinions are of their new headteacher, the replies came thick and fast ... “Very nice”, “Great”, “Really good”. And judging by their smiles, it’s all going very well so far.

Rumer, Faye and Harry enjoy some Pirate fun

Rumer, Faye and Harry enjoy some Pirate fun

Pupils reach for the moon at Ruswarp School

Pupils reach for the moon at Ruswarp School