By the time you read this newsletter, school will have been fully open for a whole 3 weeks! Of course, many students will have attended every day throughout lockdown and all students will have been studying, whether at home or at school. It has been a very strange time and I think we are all relieved to see the light at the end of the tunnel! All things considered, I find it remarkable that we have been able to change our ways of working so rapidly and so drastically. In the hope that we do emerge next term, we need to look back and reflect on how much we have achieved in such incredible circumstances. We have now undergone four consecutive school terms of disruption, meaning over half a school year of partial school closures! Two cohorts of year 11 students have had disrupted GCSEs and weeks of uncertainty. We need to move forward now and be kind to ourselves and others for all we have been through.
Governors have listened to feedback during this time and supported school leaders in amending ways of working where possible. We have ensured all statutory responsibilities are covered, have reviewed risk assessments and looked carefully at the ways in which the curriculum delivery has been amended to take into account the variety of methods in use. We know that students will not have worked at the same pace as each other and that many will have suffered through working on their own. It will take a while to overcome some of the issues but this term, we were keen to see all students settle into school routines again as effectively as possible. I have been proud to see how smoothly the return in June 2020, September 2020 and in March this year has gone and, on behalf of the governing board, would like to thank all the students, staff and volunteers who made the testing process run effectively also. To be used as an example of good practice more than once for the BBC, is praise indeed.
Next term, as lockdown eases and we hopefully emerge to a ‘new’ normal, governors will be looking forward to a term of ‘healing’ where staff and students start to address gaps in learning but also where we all take time to review our own mental health. The role of the governing board is to support and to challenge and we will continue to do both, but we should all – staff, parents, students and governors – remember what a challenging this year this has been and how much support we all need to move forward. Let’s look forward to a more settled summer term, a way out of lockdown and better weather, which will prepare us all for a more positive way ahead.
Ms L Russell-Hayes
Chair of Governors