Welcome to Week 4 of my Principal’s blog.
It is said sometimes that a week is a long time in politics. Given recent global and national events, I would suggest a week has felt like a long time in education also. More than that, though, for you and your families – indeed, for each and every one of us – I am sure that every day feels strange and different at the moment. These are unchartered waters and we should now consider preparing for a significant period of time during which “normality” (whatever that ever once was anyway!) takes on a new meaning.
Many of you may well be feeling anxious and uncertain. I would encourage you to take courage in heart, mind and spirit. If we give way to fear and doubt, the challenges ahead will overwhelm us. However, if we hold true to timeless principles: love, faith, trust, wisdom, community and service, we can and will overcome.
There has been much talk this week of a war on coronavirus. I can understand why this language has been used. Our nation has been tested before and proved itself more than able to rise above seemingly impossible situations. By working together, looking out for the vulnerable, by keeping calm and carrying on (albeit with social distancing in place and with bars, pubs, restaurants and schools closed!) we will do so once again.
I would like to speak to students directly:
If you are in Year 11 – do not worry. We will work with you, the exam boards and the government to do all we can to make sure that the grades you receive are fair. A mechanism will be put in place to give the opportunity to sit your exams in the future if you would like them. I will write to you and your parents specifically next week.
If you are in Year 10 – do not worry. We will work as hard as we can to get systems up and running so that in time we can look to deliver video conference lessons and keep your coursework projects going. We will help you when we all come back.
If you are in Year 9 – do not worry. We will make sure that the early progress you have made on your courses is continued. You will have time to catch up!
If you are in Year 8 – do not worry. We will work as hard as we can to make sure that you have the chance throughout the year 9 in order to make sensible choices about your eventual GCSE options. You will have enough time to cover them.
If you are in Year 7 – do not worry. We will do everything we can to help you continue to progress your journey at All Saints and to support the start that you have already made with us.
For each of you…remember that education is, was and always will be MORE than the grades received from the exams system. It is about developing knowledge, skills, qualities, abilities and character that each of you as unique individuals possess. You now need to learn to do this at home for a while!
A few word to parents:
Thank you for your support this week. Ever since our before our Ski Trip even left, I know there have been many of you who have been anxious. Each and every one of the tests for Covid 19 that have been undertaken on All Saints students has been negative. We need to keep it that way, and I would urge you to protect yourselves and your children at this point in time by making sure they are not gathering in big groups outside of school and following all other advice. I hope you understand why we closed a little earlier than the rest of the country. Please ONLY send your child in if you have no other SAFE child care option and your child is either vulnerable or you are a critical worker.
Next week, I will write to you all with details of how we can go forward. We simply will not be able to have an immediate solution in place to every query on Monday of next week, but over the coming days, we will continue to develop our provision at this stage. I would encourage you to remember this is likely to be a marathon not a sprint, though, so do take a few days to put your personal households into a new mindset, as it were.
And finally, to staff:
Thank you for your ongoing work. Your commitment, professionalism and dedication will be need now, more than ever. Please also take time with you families this weekend and be ready to respond next week.
Finally … please remember that no generation can control the circumstances it faces in any given moment of crisis. We can only, as individuals, local communities and wider society control our responses and play our part.
I would urge you this week to act wisely, build our community and serve one another
With blessings and prayers