We are tucked away in the beautiful village of Aston Rowant, lucky enough to have the Chiltern Hills on our doorstep and the wonderful, rolling countryside of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire nearby. There are horses in the lane, cows in the field, frogs in our pond and squirrels on the playground.
So what is it really like to go to a small rural school?
Well, the school is like an extended family, the children have a tremendous sense of belonging. We have acres of space for the pupils to play and learn in, parent volunteers help in sorts of ways and the community links are strong, long lasting and intergenerational. Our links with St Peter and St Paul's church are rooted firmly in our distinctively Christian ethos.
What do Aston Rowant children say about our school?
It is idyllic and working in a small tight-knit team means all the staff feel a sense of belonging and job satisfaction. We all work towards a shared goal and it really feels like we are making a difference together.
There are challenges though, as bubbling beneath this rural paradise are the pressures of per pupil funding. The main determinant of school funding is the number of pupils. At Aston Rowant and other rural schools there may be as few as 4 children in a year group or as many as 15. This brings chaos to school budgets. Each year we have to ask ourselves if we can afford a teacher? Can we afford new resources? Can we afford repairs to our Victorian school building? Can we afford to send our teachers on new training courses?
With such supportive parents and a strong PTA we are able to raise significant funds for additional projects in school such as the upgrading of our soft play area which is a focus for fundraising this year. We are lucky in that respect.
Maintaining our pupil numbers is so important to keeping afloat. We all consider ourselves so lucky to work in such a wonderful place. Our school community, as small as it is, makes up an important part of our children's primary years that they will remember for a lifetime. Often when I see past pupils they always reflect on the fun times and great foundations that were built at Aston Rowant. We develop a nurtured bespoke learning environment second to none.
If you would like to come and visit our school, we are still holding open mornings on a Friday mornings from 9am -10am. Alternatively, if you would prefer a 1:1 tour of the school with myself, please make an appointment via the school office.