700 black crates stand stolid, piled high in every classroom, every office and every corridor. Today they are being moved all of them, to our new home across the road. If we didn’t really believe we are finally moving from the Quwwatul building before, the reality strikes now.
We first moved into the building in 2011, bringing with us just under 200 pupils. The school was much smaller then and had a real family feel which we have worked hard to maintain as the school has grown. Mrs Akubat, Exams Officer remembers the move in January of that year, as she was the last to come and join us. She finally arrived in the March, two months later, once the main phone line had been connected! The one thing she said she really appreciated, was having a sink in the staff room. The facilities in the Mill Building back then, were pretty basic. The one thing she said she’d miss on leaving, would be the view of the Mosque from her window and the hustle and bustle at prayer times. We all love and appreciate the beauty of the building and for me that has never changed. I have always been impressed by the Arabic calligraphy on the walls, the intricate colourful tiling and the carpeted floors. I will miss the state-of-the-art designs that surround us, and I will miss the carpets. From my conversations with staff about what will be missed, carpeted floors came out top. It’s unusual to be able to walk around a secondary school in bare feet and it gives a homely, relaxed and calming atmosphere to the place. With so few pupils in the building at the beginning it was a quieter school, with a friendly vibe and plenty of room.
Parent’s still comment on our polite pupils and the warm atmosphere within the school. Another unusual aspect of the school was that the reception hasn’t always been on the ground floor, but on the first. Mrs Mohammed, Headteacher’s P.A. recalls when parents would come up the stairs to the first floor to access the school, and delivery drivers would be heard shouting loud ‘hellos’ from an empty entrance hall, trying to work out where everyone was and where to leave the boxes. The downstairs reception was only opened to us, to share with the nursery, after our first Ofsted in 2013. It’s hard to imagine the school without our ground floor rooms and reception team.
Contacts with the community and the nursery have been an integral part of life within the school since then. Often our pupils watch the little tots playing in the playground, pointing out their cute brothers and sisters and cousins to their friends. Thinking about it now, it’s only been in the last few years we’ve had a playground and garden. At first, outside the school, there was just an extended car park, without tarmac, and of course no separate nursery building. The school has grown annually with each new Year 7 intake, and we work hard to maintain the warm and welcoming atmosphere as the school population grows. Staff have always benefited from the luxuries of the building and continue to maintain great relationships with pupils, their colleagues and the wider community.
We have said our goodbyes to many colleagues over the years: Mr Seedat, Mrs Lukman, Mrs Secretary, Mr Adam, Shireen Apa and Dr Khan to name but just a few. I think losing our grandfather of Science, Mr Jiwa was one of the saddest days for all who knew him. I remember sharing Room 7 with him and Mrs Lukman in the early days. He always had funny stories to tell and pearls of wisdom to share, and Mrs Lukman was always solving Maths problems. I’ve never known anyone eat, sleep and breathe Maths as much as she did. We have also welcomed so many new members of staff as we have introduced new subjects. Mrs Bangee became our Special Needs Coordinator and after the introduction of French to the language curriculum, Mr Yelland became the French teacher. The newest subject to be introduced this year is Drama and all the English department are moving out of their comfort zone and setting up base camp in what used to be the Science Building. We will enjoy creating our own vibrant space down the road. Please come and visit anytime, you never know who or what you may find… So, in September, we move on, to begin a new chapter in PMGHS history. We are all very much looking forward to a new start, although the prospect is daunting as well as exciting. With the new intake of a larger Year 7 we will have over 540 pupils in total. The school just keeps growing and we really do need a bigger place to stay. It is a great opportunity to build on our successes and to make a myriad of new memories.
Mrs L Bettess