Sport, science, fundraising for orphans in Ethiopia and extra-curricular activities are all part of life at Scissett Middle School. HAZEL ETTIENNE reports.

ENTHUSIASM is a word which accurately describes Scissett Middle School.

It has an enthusiastic headteacher in Michael Moriarty, a committed teaching staff who work together as a team and bright, enthusiastic students who love to learn.

Despite its rural location the school has a global perspective, having links with both Africa and across Europe.

And the sporting prowess of its talented students ensure the school’s name is heard often both locally and nationally.

“Being the headteacher here is a fantastic job,” said Mr Moriarty, who took the job in September, 2002. But he has worked at Scissett since 1984 and “has done every job in the school since”.

He adds: “Teaching gives you the opportunity to influence, support and help young people make the most of themselves.

“It is a real team effort. We have enthusiastic students working with talented staff and their parents. Ofsted inspectors who visited in February recognised that.”

The school was described as good with outstanding features after the inspection.

Caring students started fundraising before Easter to provide enough money to buy school lunches for a year for 80 orphans at a school in Ethiopia.

Lunchtime supervisor Pat Alker suggested Scissett should help the school in Dukem, a small village between Addis Ababa and Debrezeit, after visiting the community herself.

Since then the active School Council has organised events, including a Dress Differently Day, and has raised £800.

Such has been the enthusiasm for the project that the link is to continue, with more money being raised to provide books and equipment.

Students have also been encouraged to link up with French pen-pals to support their language studies and plans are under way to extend this with video conferencing across Europe.

Sporting activities form a large part of school life and students have achieved success at local and national levels.

Basketball and indoor athletics teams from the school are Kirklees champions and a five-strong squad from Scissett recently represented Yorkshire in a national competition at the Birmingham NEC.

Representatives from the school also attended a special event for children with moderate learning difficulties as part of a Kirklees-wide scheme in preparation for London’s 2012 hosting of the Olympics.

Twelve months ago the school also organised what is to become an annual swimming gala, with representatives from the seven middle schools in Kirklees, at Spenborough Pool.

This competition aims to give every boy and girl who wants to swim competitively the chance to take part in the team event.

As well as modernising the school’s learning resources when he became headteacher Mr Moriarty was also keen to improve its sporting provision.

This dream has now been realised, with a fantastic £200,000 being raised to provide a new multi-use games area on the school playing fields. It will be in use by October/November.

This modern, all-weather surface with floodlighting will also be open for community use, which will build on the school’s strong links and extra-curricular provision.

The school is already used for a variety of community activities including adult education, ICT classes, football, rugby, Guides, martial arts and theatre groups.

A recent successful project also ensured that students from one of the school’s most remote locations, Flockton, were given the opportunity to enjoy special extra- curricular activities, including sport, drama, pottery and cookery.

The Flockton Project was part of the Extended Schools Service. It involved about 40 children during seven weekly two-hour sessions, from 4pm to 6pm.

It culminated in a celebration for parents and all those involved.

Mr Moriarty added: “The children who come here are really enthusiastic and keen to learn, but they benefit greatly from staff with extremely positive attitudes who are prepared to go that extra mile to encourage and support students and ensure they get every bit of talent from each and every child.

“Ours is a friendly, open school, the kind of place where everyone is happy.”