Newton Primary School – 17 September 2019

Fiona McAvoy, head teacher at Newton Primary School, ably assisted by her colleagues Daniella Miller (deputy head) and Nicola Killick (principal teacher), gave the members a wonderful insight into working life at the school, support for which is to be one of the club’s main community projects this year. To kick things off the school was recently authorised to buy nine starter packs for the beginning of their new term and Fiona said that she was touched by the interest shown in the school by the club which had provided the funds to purchase the starter packs.

According to Fiona, Newton is “an amazing school” with staff dedicated to its mission to reduce the many stresses on families and thus to enable better support for the pupils in the school environment generally. This caring and supportive ethos, she said, permeated the entire school.

The initiatives developed and implemented by the school to address these objectives are many and varied. They include breakfast clubs, supper clubs, foodbank provision during holidays (with the help local churches and other organisations), hygiene items distribution, lightbulb donations, sporting opportunities, help with claiming universal credits, assistance with language and speech problems, access to school washing machines, free haircuts, literacy and numeracy lessons for parents, music tuition and travel assistance. The list is seemingly endless, which speaks volumes for the vision and commitment of the dedicated teaching team and their supporters.

Fiona emphasised that in addition to attempting to alleviate the everyday stresses faced by families, the school strived to encourage people to take a pride in their community and the good work being undertaken by many to improve their local environment. The success of their efforts she measured by growing family engagement in these many activities but conceded that it was more difficult to get dads involved – a difficulty which was being addressed.

John Ewing, in his vote of thanks to the teachers, said he was extremely heartened by the obvious commitment of the Newton staff and that he looked forward to Ayr Rotary Club helping them to realise successful outcomes on a number of fronts.

Fiona, Ieuan, John, Daniella, Nicola