I hope that you are all well and keeping safe. We have reached the end of the half term today and although I am sure we are all ready for a rest, it is a good opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved. A discussion on the radio this morning was how different this lockdown has been to the first and I think that is the feeling that many of us share. Lockdown 1 was very much about baking bread and embarking on a rigorous exercise regime; Lockdown 2 seems to have brought out the sloth in many of us. I am at the stage where I am re watching boxsets. However, the commitment to learning is far greater this time round. School staff have all worked hard and been incredibly creative and flexible in their approaches to delivering lesson and parents’ evenings, administering the school, pastoral care and support; students have been fantastic in their endeavours, commitment and engagement and you, our parents and carers have been fantastic in your support for school and your sons and daughters. There is a very strong sense of togetherness and although none of this has been easy, it is a magnificent thing to be able to step back, survey the scene and be genuinely inspired by the power of a community.
There are lots of things coming together in the next few days and weeks. In the week commencing 22nd February we should all get sight of the plan to gradually open up society again. This timeline is also crucial for schools, given that the clock will start ticking on a two-week notice period to re-open to a broader number of pupils. The consultation from OfQUAL should be published in the first week back after half term too (we have been assured it will be before the end of February). This will define the strategy for grade awarding in the summer including timings, results’ days and rights of appeal. We have a good idea as to what will be the outcome and we are making very effective plans already, but it will be reassuring to see the final details and move forward with absolute certainty.
There has been a lot of talk over the past week of lengthening the school day and shortening the summer holiday period to make up for ‘lost learning’. Whilst this may be music to the ears of some, it is naive to think that whatever gaps emerge can be rectified in such a short-sighted way. When we know the gaps, a more strategic approach will need to be taken. I read an interesting article about the Finnish education this week and the focus in Finland is that education should be enjoyable, school days are shorter and there is a big emphasis on spending time outdoors, regardless of the weather. I am a firm believer in fostering a passion for lifelong learning and having happy children.
As always, thank you for your continued support. Take care and have a relaxing week.
“The wisest man has something yet to learn.” (George Santayana)