Thankfully we have enjoyed much more of the former than the latter. Failure has mostly been in timescales, and never for long.
First a brief History of Notable Milestones to Date, and then the latest news -
We started building in 2000, and changed our target from being a state school into being a private school in 2004, so that we could control the quality of education.
In 2006, after we had built five classrooms we started building teachers accommodation.
In 2007 we had a teachers residence ready and six classrooms, and aimed to start teaching after Easter. It took us until late autumn to attract teachers. Indians are band-wagon jumpers, not pioneers. So, on 3rd December we started teaching having inducted ages 5 and 6.
DIFFICULTY - for a long time in finding suitable head teachers, which delayed our opening by some months from July to December.
SUCCESS in getting good teachers once the flood gates were open -
1. Mr KN Jha, the headmaster, joined in Oct 07 and started living in on 2nd Nov.
2. Two B.Ed lady teachers joined over Christmas holiday and started teaching on 2 Jan 08. Nisha Yadav is the UKG teacher and Anuradha Panchal is the Grade 1 teacher
3. Two more teachers - both M As - joined on 14th Jan 08 as afternoon teachers for the remedial classes for older children - Bal Kishan as the maths leader and Lok Vivek as the English leader. We are now looking more confidently into the future on our inaugural year, and plan to have a formal opening, in uniform, during the first week of July 08, as the next scholastic year gets under way.
4. Two more teachers – music and art – joined in April; the art teacher on standard full employment contract, and she will take one of the KG classes while Nisha is away on Montessori training; and the music teacher on one day a week this year while her daughter is 2 years old, but when she is 3 her mother will join us full time and daughter will be in the Montessori class.
5. In April 08 a student friend of Mr Jha’s (Mr Gnana) who is about to leave his current prestigious school and do an M Phil, after which, next Easter, he will join us as deputy Head and head of English. The change from not being able to find teachers to now getting really good ones ha been a miraculous transformation in our fortunes.
At Easter 2008 we inducted 4s and 5s and the other moved up to 6 and 7. It also saw the lovely Australians the Thomlinsons with us and they promoted a Rotarian Matching Grant scheme in conjunction with Delhi Garden City Club in Delhi, which later - in 2009 gave us USD 16,000 worth of Montessori special ti type training equipment. This was an enormous boon - well done Mikki and Ian.
We encouraged GAP year volunteers from the start and quickly had a trickle.
Summer 2008 saw the Northallerton Explorer Scouts with us to start digging foundations for the assembly hall. cum village community hall.
In Nov Sir John Major came a looked us over and like us which led to him giving us our next five classrooms at GBP 3,000 each. This has been another enormous boon.
Added to which the on-going support of The Four Acre Trust and The Steel Charitable Trust, nobly assisted by almost all who come and stay at our guest house at Tikli Bottom, and a number of India n friends putting their shoulder to the wheel, have kept our funding above low water level, with both building and running costs so far being manageable.
GREAT WINDFALL - The sarpanch (village head man, who is actually a lady) has just invited us to enlarge the school site from a truncated right-angle triangle to a rectangle, giving us a much better shaped sports area. This is very good news and will incur extra unplanned expense in shifting and enlarging the boundary wall, and filling mud from the village tank (lake) into the low lying newly to be enclosed area.
In 2009, we were formally given the extra piece of land that turned our area into a rectilinear oblong and made the cricket pitch viable. We built the new wall in haste and it fell down in the monsoon (in 2010 we rebuilt the wall with proper drains in the field to deal with monsoon flooding)
After Easter 2009 we inducted 3 and 4 year olds and our eldest, now became 6, 7 and 8,
In 2010 Mr Jha the had who had launched us so valiantly decided he had to leave to look after his family and Sheela Bazroy too his place and doing very nicely. Our accounts will forever reflect his thoroughness and attention to detail - he served us well. His last major work was to start looking at the iDiscoveri system of teaching which uses a wide spread of work books which themselves define the curriculum, and cover many topics and subjects while teaching English.
Early in 2010 we inducted two more Trustees - General Vinod Varma who lives in Gurgaon and has brought new energy to our activities; and Rajesh Rampal, a long time friend who is an accountant, whose advice has already paid dividends. Pradeep Verma retired as a Trustee so that he could audit our accounts with the clear conscience.
After Easter we inducted just 3 year olds and are now settles into the stride of growing by one class each year, and life became more easily controllable
Summer 2010 we now have about 290 enrolled, in seven classes, with three Montessori classes and four Primary grade classes.
The euphoria of the launching process is now well behind us and we are comfortably getting into a regular flow situation. Teacher turn-over is an aspect that we are learning to cope with.
Our new head is Sheela Bazroy who is settling in well. But to spread the load we split the school into Nursery and Primary elements, and Sheela manages the school, the accounts and Primary, while Neesha Yadav is now head of and manages the Nursery Montessori element. This is working fine, and will be even better when Lajwanti finishes her Montessori training and returns to our strength in October.
In July and August, Shropshire Explorers came in two groups stayed with us. Despite hot and humid, enervating weather conditions, they helped manfully with knocking down one entry gate post and re-building it to make the entrance three feet wider; and then started building the long-awaited sports store alongside the new gate post. And when monsoon rain drove everyone indoors they helped with laying the coloured concrete floor in a new classroom. Well done the Scouts
On 8th August, Trustee General Varma, brought the Gurgaon Member of the Sate Assembly (MLA) Mr Rao Dharam Pal to the school. We just had time to set up a tree planting event and usual open-day performances. He spoke long and glowingly and hinted at giving us help - yet to be discussed when he can find time to come to lunch. This is a very positive development.