Clarity is in short supply at present. Political leaders are either changing their minds about what we should do or simply ignoring what is going on around them. Journalists continue to publish conjecture and give voice to views, however outlandish as long as it is about COVID-19. And schools, what clarity exists for this academic year? What is in store? What do we think that we are going to do?
Take it one day at a time. There is so much uncertainty around we should encourage pupils to make the most of today and prepare for tomorrow. There doesn’t seem a lot of value in thinking that we are going to be able to do all of the things that we normally do, so taking things day by day and week by week means that we can plan in line with the latest advice and be agile in the face of change. We should look to celebrate each day, all that has been achieved and what has been learned.
Do as much as we possibly can. It is vital that our young people have as normal an experience as possible. Those who can come into school should and they should experience as wide a range of school activities as they are able, safety permitting. We do have some clubs running at lunchtime, there is limited sporting activity and it was good indeed to see some of our peripatetic music teachers coming through the gates again this week.
Push on as far as we are able. We have to accept that we could be asked to close at very short notice and that we may, once again, be learning remotely. However good our offer there is a progress penalty when learning is remote. Yes, some may very well flourish and maintain their results, but we will never really know what they would have learned about themselves by sitting an exam in a hall or had the chance to work with someone else on a project. We may not be venturing far from the school campus in the coming months, but this gives us the chance to use our time in the classroom to best effect.
Look after each other and build relationships. Our school is a happy and supportive environment. I’d be a liar or a fool if I did not admit that there are individual acts of unpleasantness but for the most part, for the vast majority of the time, our community is one that radiates friendship and in which support is palpable. We must invest in our friendships and bask in the warmth of companionship. A sign of a successful education is leaving with academic accolades and lifelong relationships in equal measure. We must take the opportunity to make the most of the time that we have together.
Be grateful for what we have: If this current situation has taught us anything it is the fragility and preciousness of what we have. Coming back from lockdown I can’t tell you how many pupils told me they had missed school. Some were as surprised at saying this as I was at hearing it, but strange things happen when something is denied to you. We’ve just had the most glorious spell of weather, the school grounds are looking wonderful and we have space to simply be and grow.
And we are here, learning together. I couldn’t really ask for a lot more than that at present. In this I do have clarity.