I am very much looking forward to the ‘flyby’ that is scheduled later today to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. And it was great to see the Union Flag flying outside the Ladies Mile Road Pub as I drove into school this morning. With so many planned events cancelled it’s fantastic that we are still able to find ways of marking this milestone occasion. Before I became a teacher, I served for six years in The Parachute Regiment. Ever since I have maintained links with the military and I recently became a trustee of home that has provided care and rehabilitation to physically disabled ex-service personnel and their families since 1919. These connections with the armed services have given me an understanding and appreciation of the various struggles and challenges that generation after generation has had to confront. During the covid-19 crisis many commentators have drawn analogies between wartime Britain and the spirt of national endeavour that has prevailed during the lockdown. Much can be learnt from these analogies but one in particular sticks out for me … hard times don’t last forever!
And this is the message that I have been trying to convey to the school community this week. Talking to colleagues in school and across the city the conversation has definitely shifted … there is light at the end of the tunnel! We have yet to receive clear guidance as to when and how schools might reopen but we know that it is coming. Things are likely to move quiet slowly and I have no real idea when we might be ‘open as normal.’ ‘Gradual steps’ is the message that I think we are going to get. I am not sure what this will look like in practical terms but it is going to require some very careful and meticulous planning. The school will only re-open when it is safe to do so and that is going to mean risk assessing and adapting our routines, our expectations and the learning environment. It’s going to be a journey and there is going to be challenges along the way. Please can I take this opportunity to assure you that any decisions made will be based on the safety and best interests of the children.
Thank you for your continued support. As things move forward it will remain essential that communication between school and home remains good. We are in the process of moving our home learning package onto a single learning platform (Microsoft Teams) and we hope that this will improve engagement and open up a dialogue between teacher and learner that will help support your child’s progress. If this is system that you are not yet familiar with, it might be worth a virtual visit to Office 365 from where it can be accessed.
I hope you’ve had an opportunity to view the message that we have posted on the school website for our students, it reads ‘Hard times don’t last forever … we are still here for you.”
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
Please take care!