Staff Leavers 2016: Julia Harvey
After 8 years as an LSA at West Buckland School, Julia Harvey is having what she terms “a gap year” and leaving us to pursue other dreams. However, to call her simply, a Learning Support Assistant does not do justice to the impact she has had on the wider school community during her time here.
As a committed and active Christian, Julia has been a stalwart supporter of Christian Union working with both Andrew Watkinson-Trim and latterly Elma Rushe in organising activities such as Christmas Boxes for homeless children overseas in the Prep School and in enabling annual visits from the Gideon Society to hand out copies of the New Testament in Year 7. She was also a regular at the Adult Fellowship Meetings in the evenings which brought together governors, parents, parishioners and staff to pray for the school, to study the Bible and to discuss various issues. When Elma Rushe took over the leadership of the Chaplaincy Team in 2015 Julia began leading Christian Union meetings every Thursday in addition to supporting Paul Symons, a youth leader at Grosvenor Church every Wednesday.
The staff as a whole however will remember her for her dynamic and proactive role as Social Secretary of the Common Room working alongside Noah Shawcross. With her unique blend of warmth, energy and commitment she has put her own personal touch on everything from buying and arranging flowers for all common room events to delivering cards and flowers to staff who are unwell. She has organised social events such as the champagne and canapés evening and is always willing and keen to support others with organising special days such as the annual St Patrick’s Day celebration with Elma Rushe.
Whilst Julia has worked across both Prep and Senior schools it is perhaps in supporting our most vulnerable Prep School children that her strengths of patience, perseverance, flexibility and care come to the fore. Julia is always able to see pupils in the wider sense, never defined just in terms of their learning difficulty but as whole human beings. If children are having an “off day” she always knows why; whether as a result of personal circumstances, illness or fatigue and will alter lessons accordingly. She has an innate understanding and sensitivity for the personal struggles these children have and the challenges they face every day. I am particularly grateful for her meticulous weekly record keeping, ensuring that notes were kept up to date with examples of progress and targets met. If I need to refer to them at a moment’s notice, I know where to find them. I shall also be eternally grateful for her help and support in ensuring that the Potbury, the Learning Support base, is kept clean and tidy. Julia will frequently notice, without being prompted, that chores need to be done, areas tidied and plants watered and she has created some colourful and imaginative wall displays over the years.
Julia always has time for everyone and a sympathetic ear for staff and pupils alike. She has, over the years, made herself part of the very fabric of the school, always willing to lend a hand wherever needed and active in so many areas. Her departure will be felt by all. We wish her well with her future plans and particularly with her extended trip to Australia to visit her eldest daughter in October.