Being a Headmaster constantly reinforces how remarkable young people are. I am looking out of the window at the falling snow, reminiscing about how excited the pupils always get at the thought of a snow day! ‘Are you cancelling school, sir?’ is the question I face every five metres I walk, not only from the pupils but the staff as well! It is a reflection of the strange times we live in that under the current circumstances everyone would be excited at the prospect of coming in to school.
Last week’s announcement that schools will not reopen before March 8th was frustrating but emphasises the importance of maximising the online learning experience. I have been so pleased with how hard many of the pupils have worked over the last few weeks and seeing the quality of some of the work has amazed me. I have particularly enjoyed hearing the boarding pupils talking to their classmates and teachers. Providing the opportunity to interact and access support is a crucial element of life when in school, and I am heartened to witness this in action, even if it has to be online for now.
I have seen a lot in the news about teachers being a barrier to schools reopening, but that is not my experience. The talk in virtual staff meetings is about how we can support those who are struggling, reward those excelling and most importantly when we can get back into the classroom. Teaching online has increased workload for teachers throughout the country, and I must commend our staff for how they have embraced this without hesitation.
Parents have found themselves having to professionally navigate a way through the current crisis, but with the added complication of having their children at home. Learning online has been a true partnership between home and school, and the success we have had is reliant on this relationship. I can’t express how thankful we are not only for your support in online learning but also of the school at this difficult time.
It is hard to comprehend how it would feel as a young person over the last twelve months. The constant change, confusion, curtailment of day to day life and all this brings must be very difficult for them to understand. Teaching also constantly reinforces how remarkable young people are, but my admiration for them has escalated and provides me with faith they will bounce back. On a daily basis they are proving to be adaptable, creative, resilient, determined and compassionate. These skills will serve them very well in the future.
This week is ‘Children’s Mental Health Week’ and perhaps this has never been more important than it is at the current time. I hope you have been keeping up to date with Mrs English’s tips to support good mental health via the website. Offering support to the whole school community is an important role we fulfil so please do contact us if you want to discuss anything.
I am heartened to hear talk today of the Government making preparations to reopen schools. This hopefully means 8th March is a realistic target, and we are determined to welcome the pupils back as soon as it is judged safe to do so. I look forward to the days when pupils optimistically look at me and ask ‘Are you cancelling school?’. We will have to deal with their disappointment another day, as they realise thanks to online learning snow will never cancel school again!
I hope everyone remains safe, and I look forward to seeing you all very soon.
Mr Steven Allen, Headmaster