Liberating mind and soul

I really hope that the new term has begun well for your child(ren), and that they are benefiting from the planning, training and preparation undertaken by staff over the Easter holiday. You will continue to see improvements as staff and pupils become increasingly confident with remote teaching, learning and support, and as we all make more efficient use of the technology available; all these skills will be really useful for our futures! Of particular note has been the greater use of Teams for live interaction between pupils and staff, and this will continue to gather momentum lower down the school too, as an important aspect of our learning and meeting together. We are seeking regular feedback from pupils, and yesterday’s small-group tutorials were especially helpful in this respect, as we seek to refine the 'diet’ for different year groups.

Our pupils are responding very positively, and the morning self-registration has enabled a structured start to the day; in fact, ‘attendance’ has never been better! There will be further opportunities for activities beyond the classroom, including physical challenges, school councils and other co-curricular pursuits. The senior prefects are already setting a weekly challenge, student supporters are working alongside form tutors, and Heads of Year have been proactive in maintaining contact with their charges. Some of these aspects of the ongoing life of our school will feature in the weekly ‘community’ bulletin.

As lockdown continues, we have largely been very compliant as a nation in respecting social distancing in order to preserve life. I have been astounded by scenes from across the Atlantic where this is equated by a few with a loss of liberty. What we have seen at school (and, I imagine, in your homes) is actually, in some ways, a form of liberation. Our senses are more alive to the world around us, we are more self-aware and we have become more tolerant and mutually supportive. As pupils and staff, we have had to be more creative and imaginative with our ideas; we are growing in adaptability and resilience; and we are determined to learn lessons which will strengthen all of us and our community in years to come.

We are grateful to all those of you who have sent in messages of support this week. We continue to think of our many parents who work for the NHS and of all who are significantly affected by the virus.

Best wishes to you and your extended families, wherever they may be,

John Watson

Headmaster and Principal