Although we are far from ‘being out of the woods’ it was good to hear the government for the first time talking about plans for reopening schools. We are likely to be many weeks away from when this might happen but it was very reassuring to learn that Gavin Williamson (Education Secretary) is keen for schools to return as soon as is safely possible.
Whilst we wait for further news the school remains closed and we continue with our balanced package of wellbeing and learning at home. This week we have focused even more on reaching out to all our students to ensure that they are looking after themselves and are able to access both the learning and the support that we are offering. It’s pretty tough for all of us but children are perhaps under even greater pressure; they are unable to see their school friends and their daily routines of lessons have been disrupted – not to mention worries about GCSE results after this year’s exams were cancelled! And because of this it is my strong belief that learning must always go hand-in-hand with wellbeing.
At the start of each week we send out a ‘Self-care and safety bulletin’ that builds on the support, guidance and advice offered in the ‘Isolation Handbook’ that was sent out to all students at the start of the lockdown. During our communications this week we have been encouraging students to revisit some of the strategies and coping mechanisms that we have shared with them. And it has been great to receive so many emails from parents and carers telling me of their children’s good spirts and enthusiastic engagement in physical and mental wellbeing activities. As I sit here writing I await the publication of the first week’s results table from the ‘Virtual Sussex School Games 2020’ … fingers crossed for high participation rates and strong performances from our students. I also look forward to the final round of the weekly quiz this evening and then settling down to review all the fantastic artwork that students are producing in response to our ‘Daily Doodle’ … there may even be time to listen to the English Department’s reading of the next Chapter of Malorie Blackman’s book ‘Thief’.
Staying connected has been a bit of a mantra for staff throughout the ongoing crisis. We hope that the significance that we are placing on ongoing communication between home and school is something that resonates with both you and your child/children.
We will continue to keep you updated with any developments and we very much welcome your thoughts and feedback on the provision that is on offer to students and any additional support that you might like us to consider.
Please can I remind you of that you can make an appointment to meet with me on Zoom at one of the ‘Virtual drop-in sessions’ (Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00-9:30am) by emailing EHolmes@patchamhigh.org.uk
Thank you for continuing to engage with the school.
Please take care!