Head Teacher News

“Vibrant, energised, there’s a buzz here”: thoughts from Acting Head Mrs Bruce

Mrs Bruce, Acting Head for Stromness Primary School, had a chat with Dan Lee, chair of the Parent Council, about how she got here, her thoughts on the school, its links with the community and congas in assembly.

Mrs Bruce

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I have taught all my teaching career at Papdale Primary School in Kirkwall, starting off as a class teacher. I never thought about moving up the promotion ladder, however from class teacher I eventually became the Head Teacher for 15 years! Then I took early retirement, but wanted to get back into the classroom, so have taught in class and support for learning teaching almost full time since then. This year I was asked if I would consider being Acting Head at Stromness Primary School. I had a think and thought why not, I’m not ready to fully retire just yet! I came for visits in June, met the staff and children, and thought this would be a good experience.  So that’s how I got here.

What are your impressions of the school and town?

Well, as a former Stromness Academy pupil myself, I felt I knew Stromness quite well, with fond memories of my time here. So I had a wee bit of knowledge about the town, but not of the school until I visited, and WOW! Its in such a perfect location, overlooking the town. It’s a relatively new build, and quite stunning in fact; the layout of the school for the children, the classrooms and the space making it a great learning environment.  The potential for outdoor education is great too.

I really like how friendly everybody is – children, staff and parents.  I’ve been made most welcome. I’m also meeting parents who happen to be children of people I went to school with or should I say grandchildren! So that’s been lovely. I really enjoy working with the children, for example having time at assembly with them and trying to have a wee bit of fun and enjoyment as well, I think that is important for the children. We’ve even done the conga at assembly after the children have been sitting listening for a time – we need a bit of activity! Much to the amusement of some of the staff I think.

How important are the links between the school and community?

These links are quite key to the benefit of the school, which holds the future of the community. The community feel is very positive, particularly links with parents. I’ve enjoyed meeting parents in the mornings as they come in and at other times too. That’s been so nice. It’s a chance for them to come and speak if they want to or just a wave and hello. I would like them to feel that I am approachable and happy to talk regardless of what it’s about.

I recently attended the Parent Council AGM and was impressed with how dynamic and active they are. At the heart is this desire to help the school, which is such an important link. I think it’s important to reach out to and be involved with the various organisations and businesses in the community, whenever possible such as Stromness Museum and the Pier Arts Centre, which we are very fortunate to have on our doorstep and some of the renewables industry, such as EMEC. There are a lot of resources out there in the community whose input can be so valuable. It’s great to foster these links for the benefit of the children.  

Parent Council

If you could choose one word to describe Stromness Primary what would it be?

One word would be inspirational, but it’s also vibrant, energised, there’s a buzz here, a feeling of positivity. All schools have challenges, and here folk want to overcome them, and they do pulling together.  There is a can-do-attitude with children and staff working together. So more than one word!