I hope you're all keeping well.
In the past few months the world has changed and some people think that it will never quite return to how it was before; we have entered the 'new normal'. As I wandered around Ely Market on Saturday morning - the first time I had ventured to the shops since we were allowed - it was clear that most people were cautious and wary of those around them. Face-masked pedestrians danced and dodged to maintain social distance and queues formed and then disappeared as shoppers were allowed access to shops. It definitely was not 'normal' but it wasn't weird, just different, and we will get used to it. The Brits are good at queuing! As I waited outside shops with my two dogs while my wife and daughter shopped, I was politely asked on numerous occasions whether I was in the queue. Politely (considering I was clutching two dogs) I said no and they stepped into the yellow and black square and patiently waited to be invited in. While sitting on a bench in the Cloisters, the same happened over and over again. One man observed - 'I'm not sure where to stand - I'm in a queue wherever I go!' He was right. With shops standing cheek by jowl, the queue positions seemed to merge but still the shoppers politely asked whether he was in one. It was lovely to see. Not once was there a scowl or a raised voice or a queue jumper. We have adapted - are adapting - and it will be OK.
What has all this to do with LECA? Well, everything and nothing! I think the key word is adapting. Since March 23rd we have all adapted exponentially. We teach from home (both parents and teachers) and our students learn at home. We can't hand out resources so we email them. We can't meet our tutor groups so we Zoom them. It's quite incredible how quickly we adapted to the create the current model. We know it's not perfect; nothing replaces standing in front of a class gauging understanding, discussion, hypothesis, creation. But we have adapted and our parents and students have adapted and we have all done our best. Of course this period of adaptation will continue for a while. We listen to briefings and read the conjecture of journalists and we honestly don't know what school will look like in September. If social distancing is completely relaxed, LECA will be fully open. If it isn't - we will adapt and work around it but one thing is for sure: we we will do everything we can to make it a positive experience for all our students and parents.
Transition has a been a challenge we have had to adapt to. But again, the team at LECA has risen to it. Meetings with new classes have started, information to parents is flowing, primaries are sharing their knowledge of students with us and this week we 'released' our Transition video so new students and parents can see and hear a little about how LECA operates. It's available to view on the website and on social media and a massive thanks goes to Mr Richardson who did a brilliant job of filming and editing, and Mrs Emmess who helped with the shot planning, audio and the scripting of the voice-overs. We hope you like it. We're really proud of it and we hope it helps give a little insight into life at LECA for new students.
To date I have resisted comment on the Black Lives Matter campaign but following some conversations and emails I have had this week, I do want to say a few words on this. Even as I write, I'm aware of the pitfalls I could fall into but I'm just going to state some facts that relate to LECA. We are, and always have been, an inclusive school in every way. Since Day 1, we have taught diversity through our PSHE lessons and our tutor time activities. In music, students learn about musical traditions from around the world, including the origins of Jazz and Blues and African Drumming. In Art, Mrs Way's curriculum travels the world too, in all year groups, and the students discover the wonders of artwork from hugely diverse cultures. In History we have always taught Black history. As you walk around the Academy the walls are adorned with inspirational quotes from every walk of life: Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking, Marilyn Monroe, Emily Pankhust, Michael Johnson. Each one of them not only celebrates their lives but recognises their greatness. They inspire us. They created history and we hold a torch to them at LECA. Of course, there is more work to be done but we are ahead of the curve and we are, as we speak, looking for even more ways we can embed the history and the struggle and the triumphs of the human race into our teaching. Because in our eyes that is what it is: one race - the human race - and we stand together as one.
Head of School, LECA