Family is an important part of life at ACG Sunderland. It’s something we celebrated recently at our Grandparents and Special Friends day, where we spoke to ACG Sunderland grandmother and Katikati local Gaye Magnus.
Gaye has a special connection to the school – not only is her granddaughter Annabelle Tyler, 6, in Year 2, but her daughter Janine Tyler is also an English teacher who has been with the school since 2009.
What do you enjoy about Grandparents and Special Friends Day?
It’s our third year coming and this year is the biggest yet. The event is a must for us. It’s about supporting the school and supporting Annabelle. Her class sang a song.
I love seeing how the children have developed over those three years. The boys in particular – now they have so much confidence, they’re like different people.
What is your favourite thing about ACG Sunderland?
Whenever I can I pop in to see Annabelle’s classroom and say hello to the teachers. I love the way the school develops the children. The teachers don’t push the children, but they encourage them so well in the parts of learning they’re not excelling at.
I also love its multiculturalism – I have noticed that Annabelle is wonderful with children of all ethnicities, there’s no snobbishness. Everyone mixes here and it’s wonderful.
One thing I’ve picked up is that I’ve never heard Annabelle say, ‘I don’t want to go to school today.’ That says something for the school.
What changes have you seen in Annabelle over the last three years?
She is far more outgoing – every time I see her she has more confidence. I think it’s because the younger age groups at school have contact with the older ones – the different year groups aren’t in isolation.
Janine is so happy, too. This is the only school she want to work in – she won’t leave. She thinks Cambridge is wonderful, but it’s not just that, it’s the ethos of teaching here, the family feel.
What role do you think grandparents play in education?
Grandparents are there to support the parents where they can – helping to pick the grandchild up, doing homework, just being there. They can be someone the child can come to if they need to – if they were to have problems at school for example. And being able to help financially to send the child to a school like this is big, because it makes such a difference to their education.