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Love for learning, kindness and friendship

Published on 05/01/22

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone

Joni Mitchell

You might have thought that record COVID-19 rates, the need to wear face coverings in school and the fear of staff and pupil absence would cause this to be a start of term fraught with difficulties.  These will indeed provide us with ample challenges, together with any future developments, however, experience now tells us that on-site learning at practically any cost is well worth fighting for.

We all wake up with that nervous, butterflies feeling when returning to school or work after a long break, particularly with a pandemic surrounding us.  We have all now lived through at least two episodes where term has started with remote learning.  As headmaster, I am far more conscious now of our pupils and their parents’ gratitude for our maintaining an excellent learning routine at times of adversity. However, there is nothing quite like the excitement of a return to the hubbub of a dynamic school: catching up with old friends, forging new friendships, trying something new, learning in new ways, picking up new skills and interests thanks to interaction with others.

Perhaps the most intangible element of any school is its community; you are not awarded grades for being in a community, and it involves compromise - things will not always come easily, there are turns to take and timetables to follow - but there is energy, understanding, kindness and opportunity to be gained from the very best school environments. It is a pleasure to lead a school where we of course, prioritise learning and achievement but also invest in the development of the whole child, whether in learning, competition, house rivalry or simply looking out for others.  Although our community has proven to transpose itself impressively into an online environment, it always feels so much more enjoyable when we are here, together.

Are we fazed by the challenges ahead? We would be foolish not to plan for the worst, but it is such a pleasure to be returning this term with an optimism for the best. We all need our school community and if on-site testing, regular home testing and the wearing of face coverings in class is what it takes to ensure we do not need to start the term late, we must welcome these measures.

Mr William Brierly