Letter from Camphill

Christmas 2017

Dear Parents and Friends

“Have a care tis frozen over” is a popular line from the traditional nativity play that we perform here ever year and this morning it is certainly true as black ice lies atop the encrusted snow after overnight rain. Notwithstanding this, the snow cover has definitely helped the Christmas spirit awaken as the special day approaches!

This week we will see the afore-mentioned play, a Paradise Play and enjoy nativity school endings as well as Christmas Eve celebrations. Prior to this, we have enjoyed Advent Sales, when beautiful goods made by co-workers and in craft workshops were made available for our children and young people as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of the Aberdeen shops, walked in Advent Gardens, had visits from St Nicholas, held a Pudsey Bear Children in Need café (which raised £100.02) and had co-workers singing in both the Bach Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah; and, in addition, some found time to sing carols in our local Sainsbury’s as we are their local charity of the year - a wonderful Advent time. (For regular updates on what is happening, please check our school Facebook page.)

However, in between the celebrations, there was work to be done and this term the management team have become clearer in how the senior management structure needs to be as my retirement as Executive Director comes closer and Alex Busch, currently Deputy Executive Director (Social Pedagogy) takes over. Kathleen Scott, who was our Finance Manager, has joined the Executive and taken on the role of Director of Finance and Corporate Services and, in the New Year, we will recruit a new Director of Social Pedagogy. I will remain as Executive Director until the new Director of Social Pedagogy is fully in place and Alex can succeed me.

This term we have also appointed Jane Hepburn into the role of Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development. I am confident that once the new Director of Social Pedagogy is in place, the new team will continue the excellent work of the last 3½ years as the management team continues to lead and support the development of Camphill School Aberdeen.

High on the agenda is our emerging capital development plan which encompasses upgrading some of our buildings as well as building new ones. Together with the ongoing development of our workshops and land work, we aim to increase both the number of day attendees and residential places. However, before we can progress this, we need to develop a vision of how we imagine Camphill School looking in 10 years’ time and this is our current task. You will be invited to participate in this activity when we send out our annual survey in the New Year.

As part of our improvement to our infrastructure, many of you will have been affected by the months of road works around Murtle as contractors install a new electricity supply. Thank you all for your understanding and co-operation during the project; it has been very much appreciated and I am happy to report that we are now reaching the final stages within the main body of the Estate.

During the October school holiday, we hosted a visit of the Scottish Government’s Independent Child Care Review team. They were clearly impressed with what they saw and who they met and afterwards wrote: “We found ourselves inspired and very taken with your inclusive approach.”  This is, I believe, a very positive endorsement of the work that happens within our school community.

Congratulations to Leigh and Pascal who both graduated with a BA in Residential Child Care from Robert Gordon’s University as part of a small pioneering group for this course. Congratulations too to Gregor and Callum who sold 90 kg of rice, enough to send a child to school for a year in Malawi. Well done to you all!

With this, I would like to wish you all the best for the festive days and into the New Year.

Laurence Alfred
Executive Director