Letter from Camphill
Dear parents and friends
It does feel odd to write Easter 2013 at the top of this letter while it is freezing cold outside and the ground is covered with snow, but so it is! However, despite this, there are some lovely Easter gatherings on all three estates: an Easter ‘shadow play story’ on Camphill, Mandala creations on Murtle and ‘living’ pictures of Holy Week in Cairnlee.
This has been a non-stop helter-skelter of a term with so many activities happening in so many different areas of our community….
As a whole school we have been involved in an internal audit of ‘where we are at’ in order to help us determine what resources we need to continue to develop into the future. This has been an exciting process, the highlight of which was undoubtedly listening to all the reports from the different areas and then realising how rapidly we have changed over the last years and broadened the service that we offer. This rapid change brings with it challenges of sustainability for the whole and it is this that we are addressing now with the aim of producing a strategic training and recruitment plan within a new development and business plan against the backcloth of financial restraint. Of high importance in regard to this has been the need to finalise arrangements for a ‘new’ BA in Social Pedagogy which we would like to offer our co-workers, some of whom we hope will become our experienced co-workers in the future.
As part of our ongoing quest for partnerships with the City, we have participated in a number of meetings together with other members of the voluntary sector. These have included meetings around early intervention, successful transitions to adulthood, the development of a City inclusion policy, and working with looked after children. At the same time we have set up strategic meetings with officers in the City and Aberdeenshire. On a national level we have participated in debates around the proposed new national residential care contracts, and presented workshops at the Scottish Social Services Expo conference and, through the auspices of the Scottish Social Services Council, courses in leadership.
This term has seen fund-raising activities taking place both on Murtle and Camphill with the former raising £130 on International Women’s Day for Oxfam and Book Aid and the latter £136 for Comic Relief. In both cases the key element was fun and all thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Currently there are two groups preparing for their 2 or 3-day expeditions next term as part of the
Duke of Edinburgh awards: members from Class 9 for the bronze award and Class 11 for silver to follow on from the bronze awards they already achieved.
This term the pupil council has met with Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, who afterwards wrote:
“I had the great pleasure of visiting Camphill School on 4th February 2013. The main part of my visit consisted of meeting with Klae, Harrison, CJ, and Callum who filled me in on life in the school and their views on what makes Camphill special to them. I really enjoyed speaking with them and I was struck by two things that they said. The first was that, for them, Camphill was a place where they felt safe – safe from what could be a threatening world outside of Camphill. The second was that Camphill allowed them to be themselves - to be respected for who they are as they grow and develop. I informed them that when I consulted with children and young people two of the key messages they gave were that they wanted to be safe and to be respected, just as Klae, Harrison, CJ and Callum had said they got from Camphill. I was so impressed by the messages they gave me I mentioned my visit in a speech I was giving later that day to a large gathering of teachers.”
And with Maureen Watt MSP who, after her visit, wrote:
“Camphill schools have, for a long time now, been at the forefront of providing innovative and holistic support for children with complex special needs. Having spent time with students and staff at the facility I have seen first-hand the benefits of the important work which Camphill does each and every day.”
The Camphill School Aberdeen periodical ‘Network’ is now ready for distribution. Should you require more copies please ask in the central office or Fiona in Camphill Estate office.
I would also like to draw to your attention the email Fiona sent around a few days ago about the setting up of a Scottish Region of Camphill Family and Friends. I hope that some of you may be able to attend the meeting in Edinburgh on Saturday 4th May.
Finally, for your interest, SCILL (Supporting Children in Learning for Life) are running a workshop on ‘Anger Management in the Home’ which Camphill is both hosting and presenting. The workshop will take place in Carnelian Schoolhouse on Saturday 20th April from 11am to 4pm. If you are interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07913 326816.
With best wishes for Easter and the holidays.