Fantastic Phoenix

Hugo and Kirsten plus some of the HFHC team joined Ann and me on Saturday night at a fundraiser for The Phoenix School, Peterborough.  And what an evening it was!  Over 300 people attended the Roman Themed Ball at the East of England Showground which was fantastically organised by Liza Schwarz, mum of Spencer who attends the school.

The overriding thing about the evening was the commitment of the parents for putting together an absolutely spectacular event. It just shows what parents can do, but also what a headmaster can do for a school.  Phil Pike, Headteacher at The Phoenix School is an incredibly inspiring person who, through great leadership and a supportive staff team, has transformed his school into an example of how it should be done.  His good leadership motivates staff, it motivates pupils, it motivates parents and it is infectious.  The school lets people see the positive side of life; when you have a child who has a learning disability to you they are just your child – someone else gives them the label.  At The Phoenix School they focus on the child, not on the disability.  That’s why it works.

It’s also the way it’s done: Phil is totally hands on, he’s a big presence around the school and is always interacting with the pupils.  On top of that, he supports parents sometimes visiting them at home or even accompanying them on visits to us or other facilities for their child’s future. Everything that comes out of him affirms positivity and that too, is infectious and creates an expectation of what people want to live up to.

Although the evening was emotional with speeches from both Phil and Liza, it was uplifting.  This reflects the school exactly; it’s a happy school which, given the high support needs and the complexity of those needs, is no mean feat.

Always the sign of a good party, the vast majority of guests were still there at the end, having enjoyed two auctions, casino tables, a sweet stall and a great band with singing from Maurice Cannon from The Drifters who also provided us with a signed waistcoat which we bid for in the auction.



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