You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages. (Michelle Obama)
This is a difficult time for all of us. Many of you will be facing economic challenges, anxiety for family and loved ones and perhaps a general feeling of malaise as we continue through the gears of lockdown. As is so often the case, our children offer positivity and hope. At school, we have received many photographs and stories from children of how they are spending their time away from the class room. From painting rainbows, to walks with the dog and family, our children are finding ways to both keep busy and to be productive. I am currently reading about leadership in times of adversity and there is a common thread that arguably applies to all of us now. The advice recommends taking time to stop and, perhaps through shared conversations, to reflect on the positives. There is something there for everyone – the sheer numbers of families walking, cycling or jogging together for their daily exercise or playing board games at home or even just slouching as a family for some ‘trash TV’ suggest many of us are finding new opportunities to spend quality time together. This is time that might otherwise be regularly squeezed in our hectic lives.
Whilst seemingly as busy as ever (remote working is far more tiring than expected), I nevertheless miss the ‘day job’ that allows me to work in an incredible school and with genuinely, lovely staff, pupils – and even parents! I have attended school on occasional health and safety visits and it is simply not the same with our community missing. A building does not make a home and classrooms and playgrounds do not make a school. It is the people that are important. However, decent buildings and infrastructure do nevertheless sometimes help! Construction work continues on the school site. The former ‘Hut’ is mid-way through its transformation and we should hopefully be receiving, in the near future, the approval from planners for building work to start on the technology block. The final staffing appointment was made this week and, post receipt of contracts, I will be in a position to introduce new teaching staff next term. Emma Haywood is looking forward to starting her role later this month as Director of Music; Miss Roddis is excited about teaching the Year 5/6 English class.
I have been delighted with the overall quality of the applicants and those we have appointed will really add value to their subjects and to the school community as a whole. KSI Education consider this investment, now significantly in excess of £1 million, as more important than ever. It will add to the current offer whilst securing an exciting and long-term future for the school during what will be an uncertain period for the economy and country as a whole.
I wrote to you recently about fees for next term. This was not an easy letter to write; I am very much aware of the difficulties faced by many and also acknowledge the loyalty and friendship of our parents. Much consideration was given to a range of factors, including the sustainability of our business plan, the continuity of learning next term and fairness to parents. Any general communication is likely to receive a broad range of response. Some parents have made contact with me directly to discuss their individual circumstances, others have paid fees in full. Comments on our remote learning have been overwhelmingly positive and all feedback has been shared with our teachers as we seek to refine the offer next term. In response to this feedback, Mr. Stubbs / Mrs. Griffiths will be in contact with the specific tweaks to the curriculum prior to the start of the new term.
Easter is almost here and yet it feels like a very different ‘holiday’. And in contrast to most other holidays, I have not made any specific requirements of my teaching staff to set work over Easter. There are, of course, always learning tasks that might be completed (reading, finishing tasks from last term or continuing with some of the digital learning via software subscriptions); Mrs Grosvenor will be asking for information on your family history (photos, interviews, shared memories) that we might then subsequently share on our media platforms. However, first and foremost I ask that we all take some time away from school and appreciate and look after our families, friends and neighbours. At times such as these, this should be the priority.
Lawrence Collins Headmaster