I have Mr Grimadell, Head of Year 7, to thank for my inspiration this week! (And, I have to admit, there are Thursday evenings when my own muse is not as prolific as others!)

He wrote to his year group on Wednesday: remembering Captain Sir Tom Moore and his very positive legacy; highlighting some activities for the Life Goals day (the Kindness activity pack and the First Aid session); sharing some thoughts on Children’s Mental Health Week and reminding pupils of all the people to whom they can talk; repeating Mr James’ 20-20-20 advice from Monday’s assembly (Please aim to give your eyes a rest from the screen during the day. Ideally every 20 minutes focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.); giving some guidance on planning for half-term so as to avoid more screen-time; encouraging healthy participation in the ‘Spring into Well-being' house exercise competition; providing links to some inspirational videos, some of them from children; and congratulating the winner of the ‘Design a loo roll’ competition!

This was just one example of how our Heads of Year are working with other staff to keep our pupils positive and creative, and I know too that subject teachers are intent, in a variety of ways, on sustaining motivation and progress in lessons. Pastoral care sometimes has to be reactive, and it’s vital that we give our pupils and their families all the support we can when they need it. However, proactive messaging and the sharing of humane, durable values are more important than ever at a time when happiness is more precarious and when we are sometimes struggling to give our young people clear answers.

We all thrive on inspiration at the hardest of times. From the Times leader this morning: As Boris Johnson put it, Sir Tom enjoyed “a long life lived well” and in his final months “inspired the best in us all”. He has come to symbolise the courage and optimism shown by so many during the global pandemic.

Best wishes,

John Watson