A few years ago, there was a song that came out and it was hilarious. It brought proper joy to my little Sheffield world and made me giggle a lot:
I’d not ever been to Stonehenge at that point and in all honesty, I’d not really got any substantive idea where Wiltshire was apart from being in those wild lands, south of the M4, where Henderson’s Relish wasn’t a thing. It was at the point where we were not going to leave Sheffield, I was a teacher and staying thus and all the rest of it.
Flash forward just over 10 years and here I am, living the Southern dream in Wiltshire, spending hours of my life in traffic jams outside of Stonehenge and I’ve still never been there. But there has been a huge, paradigm shift.
Stonehenge has a meaning for me: it is a place of healing, edification and a home. It also isn’t a load of old stones in a circle. It is an immense school, where I have been privileged to work and develop as a teacher, SEN specialist and general human-bean. I’m not fussed about the lumps of rock, though they are pretty at sunset. But I am HUGELY bothered about the school.
I came to Stonehenge School a bit wobbly after losing confidence as a teacher and starting to think about using my newly-acquired PhD. I wasn’t sure how but I had a few ideas and Stonehenge School took me in a embraced me. They’ve built me up, listened to me, seen me through a maternity leave and let me just be me. Some people (rightly) put me back in my box when I get grumpy, they feed me chocolate when needed and actually they’ve had my back in some really tricky times. They listen to me when I know I’m right and I am like a dog with a bone at such times. They have valued me as a person, me with having a fairly weighty, usually unlocatable brain (see particle physics for an explanation of knowing mass versus location) and also someone who sometimes just can’t find the word.
I am gutted to be leaving because it’s not that I want to leave per se, but I’m not 6 people and/or I’ve not operationalised commercial cloning so that I can be in precisely 29475037305704 places at once, which is what my current diary has felt like.
So I’m off to pastures different and scary. I’m going it alone and using my PhD to shout at people and research things and give families answers about their children, and I am so lucky to be able to do something I adore to earn money. That is a massive privilege too. But I cannot do it all and I can’t manage school at the same time, so I had to make a choice and leaving Stonehenge School was that choice.
But I love the meaning that Stonehenge has for me: community, support and friendship. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up doing something there- I’ve promised them use of my brain, so there is some slight chance it might turn up there. I think I may have left it in the staff study room downstairs, next to the coffee machine!