04 July 2016
“Hello, Mr Cook, do you remember me?”, beamed a familiar, friendly face, as the confident young man strode towards me and eagerly shook my hand in a local restaurant. I was delighted to recognise a former Croft pupil who I had taught in a previous school, some 16 years ago. We shared tales of our experiences and I was delighted to hear that he was now embarking on a teaching career.
Our conversation was swiftly interrupted by the same scenario, but this time, by a pupil who had left The Croft in Year 6 and who had just finished their first year at university, who joined in our reminiscing. Unbelievably, a third former pupil of The Croft from some 10 years ago also approached me; so the four of us were chatting, catching up on the years in between. It was most surreal, but I gained a lot of satisfaction and pleasure in seeing how these young pupils had grown and matured and become successful in their individual ways.
It is interesting to see people still having connections with The Croft and we are delighted that there are second and third generation families who attend. Their experience testifies that the high educational standard has stood the test of time from the school’s beginnings in 1933 by the founder, Miss M G Phillips, and which has evolved into an enriching curriculum and multi-faceted extra-curricular programme in the 21st century.
Thousands of pupils have benefited from this extraordinary heritage. Many of our current Year 6 pupils have spent 9 fruitful years here, growing physically and mentally, to become strong, confident, happy young people. They started their learning journey with solid foundations and their roots are now spreading into secondary education, university and beyond. We wish our Year 6 girls and boys all the very best for the next chapter of their education – they are prepared and ready for the next stage.
In September, our first cohort of 2 year olds, as the newly named Little Crofters ‘Caterpillars’, will begin their 9-year learning journey. They will be nurtured to develop into ‘Butterflies’ the following year, from which they will be ready to launch fully into the brilliant world of education. Our Caterpillars join us as sweet, inquisitive children and, in time, will leave as strong, well-educated, well-rounded individuals.
Miss Phillips had the wisdom and foresight to create the school motto, dulce et forte – meaning sweet and strong - which our pupils continue to wear with pride on their maroon blazers today. Her words know no bounds and are as applicable now as they were 83 years ago. The ethos of dulce et forte ingrains a balance and resilience in pupils to catapult them to success with a combination of social graces and inner strength.
Success presents itself in many guises, of course, and everyone can celebrate one form or another, be it academia, sporting, artistic, music or anything else that is your personal triumph. So, if you should see me around town in a few years’ time, please do say ‘hello’ - I’d love to hear your successes, however big or small, sweet or strong!