Since the lockdown started and the school was closed it's not only been important to stay in touch with students and parents but also keeping in touch with our school colleagues. We are used to seeing each other every day, sharing lesson anecdotes, comparing ideas, letting off steam, having lunch together, and it's fair to say that we are really missing it, missing each other. Nothing about this is normal. Of course we do the job for the students but we also do the job to contribute to a diverse team of people working towards a common goal. We have this innate commonality even though we are all very different, and that common interest is what brings us together. So - it's odd not to see everyone every day. At the moment, we generally have 2 teachers, a TA and a couple of support staff in. That is compared to 30+ members of staff on a normal day. Thousands of interactions are missing: hellos, questions, meetings, lessons, training and so on. In a strange way I believe this has made the team even better than it was before. The team is tighter and more aligned than ever, coming together to deliver what we have to deliver for our students and parents.
With the loss of team time, we have used Zoom to get together at the end of each week. Friday night is quiz night and members of staff are assigned to create 10 questions to outfox their colleagues. It's fiercely competitive and very funny and this Friday was great example of it. There was huge controversy when Mr Marshall made up a rule on his round awarding bonus points for what was essentially one answer. I tried (and failed) to pull rank while Mr Tatham and others celebrated these unexpected (and completely undeserved) extra points! It was generous to say the least and I will be launching a full appeal after coming third because of it! Congratulations to Mrs Tatham for the great show of general knowledge tonight and a first place - we all know Mr Tatham could never have done without you. In the absence of a blog last week, during the Easter holidays, I should also mention Mr Mortlock's win last Friday. There you go, sir.
At school, I've been so impressed with the students we've had in this week. They have come back with smiles on their faces and have cracked on with their work brilliantly. Then, on Thursday, they helped Mrs Cameron and Mrs Emmess to make PPE visors for our local health workers which the teachers delivered to St Georges and various care homes around Littleport. I was speechless when I saw the production line on Firday morning and so proud of the staff and students doing their bit for our local community during this crisis. Well done to all of you and thank you.
At home, the routines continued but, for those who saw my email to parents last week, it is so important to have your own routines. School timetables are aren't designed to fit around domestic life; they're designed for school. We originally said try to follow your timetable as much as possible and we maintain this stance because it will work for some students. Equally, we know that it won't work in every household so please go easy on yourselves and plan your days to include activities that play to your strengths or fit around your unique family units. Learning will take place whatever you do so you can't get it wrong! Do it your way - you're doing a brilliant job and I have no doubt our students will return to school ready to go again having learnt lots just from being around you.
In the background the final tweaks are being made to the options groups and this week we will be in a position to start work on the timetable for next year. Even that is complex task now though! Looking at other countries who have partially lifted lockdowns, it seems likely (but not certain) that we will have to open gradually and with full social distancing in place. We are planning for numerous different models and the 'opening team' was full of lots of positive suggestions about what this could look like when we met last Wednesday. To this end, we now have to write two timetables: one for partial opening with social distancing and one for full opening, likely to be later next academic year. It's no mean feat but rest assured whatever model we create we will ensure that it runs smoothly and within whatever guidelines are issued by the Government.
Thank you again for all your efforts at home and in the community in, whatever part you are playing. You are helping us all stay safe and and are all heroes. Stay at home, stay safe and please keep in touch - we are here to support you. It's all about teamwork.
Head of School, LECA