A week to go until the end of term, so my last blog until the new term and next week is the newsletter…the norm, isn’t it? Seriously, I write to staff every day to give an update on government policy, what’s happening in school, and my reflection as to what will happen next; the other day I started to put them all in to one document for posterity and a degree of reflection over the summer, but what an unusual few months it has been. I will write formally to parents next week (separate for Years 6-10 to Year 11), but my overriding emotion is relief that we will have students back in school in September. So whilst it is with a heavy heart that we won’t say goodbye this summer properly, there is something to look forward to and parents won’t have to continue home education.
A debate we are having at SLT at the moment is how much of the embryonic plans for September we should reveal now versus allowing further settling of government advice over the summer. Since the guidance was issued last Thursday, we have had revisions sent to us every day that have changed our plans, so our planning process is only as secure as the last 24 hours. In practice, this means our plans are now out of date, and therefore why share the finer detail that will inevitably change? One thing is certain, school will not be the same experience as it was before we went in to lock down. Students will be in bubbles, their practical activities are more limited and social time will be more controlled; they will sit in desks facing forward and be expected to adhere to social distancing; their teachers will have to deliver more from the front and group work is actively discouraged. This will be alien for teachers in their planning, and students in their behaviours, but they are essential to do our part to stop another Covid outbreak either locally or nationally. Personally, I will fall in the camp of “better this experience than continuing home education”, although I am not sure whether that is the teacher or parent in me talking! Joking aside, we will all have to adjust to this new norm, this Brave New World.
So one last opportunity to look back at the school year; last summer we achieved the best results the school has ever achieved, the new catering service and greater food choice, we watched the new building grow out of its foundations, we secured our first good Ofsted judgement for over a decade, and I watched a community of young people handle a pandemic with maturity and resilience. I feel, as ever, very humble and proud to be the Headteacher at Marshalls Park.
Looking forward, we return to a fully staffed school again (I always remind the students how lucky they are in the current recruitment climate for that to be true), a new building, hopefully a second dining canopy, a new room numbering system (just to confuse everyone), but most importantly students crossing the threshold again. For me, a brief break is in order when we break up next week, and then back to the intricacies of planning for re-opening in September.
Have a good weekend.