A very busy end to a very busy term

Well where do we start this week? It has certainly been an eventful week here at Honywood. It all started off last weekend and we kicked off the week with a letter to you all that I never imagined I would need to write. I still find it hard to comprehend what drives people to get involved in things they know nothing about. That they are so willing to take things at face value bemuses me beyond belief. People have had the temerity to judge our wonderful community based on an inaccurate, incoherent and incomplete, out of date narrative. I am truly sorry to you all that you have had to witness our good name tarnished in this way and hope that you can see past the drama of social media. So let’s now put it behind us and move on. I for one am very proud to serve you all and it remains a real honour to be a part of your community. Thank you everyone for your support.

In my assemblies to C10 over the last few week’s I have touched upon the heroes and villains of lockdown and drawn out the characteristics and qualities of leadership. Ironically, one of the issues I have touched upon is the use of social media for hate speech. As we approach the end of term my message to C10 is that they are now the leaders of the school. They are the ones that will illuminate the way ahead for us all. How they choose to do that will be key. I think we are in safe hands as they have shown great perception in identifying the qualities of leadership that they need – qualities that many across the world could do with adopting.

I had the pleasure of meeting the Home Secretary Priti Patel today. I think she likes visiting our school as she has been a few times before. She visited our school to meet with a few of our C10 learners to hear about what life has been like over the past few months. I was very proud to give them an opportunity to discuss their transition into remote learning. The reason for her visit? I simply asked her. Over the last few weeks she has been supporting the school behind the scenes with a range of issues and I wanted an opportunity to thank her and highlight the great progress our learners have been making during lockdown. I also discussed current initiatives coming out of the DfE and was pleased to hear that she is happy to support us. I have taken the opportunity to share thoughts and plans for a new school building which she has stated she will take to the education secretary for consideration.

“Children are 20% of the population but 100% of our future’.

I have previously shared these words by Tony Blair. Given the current situation we are all in globally and economically this statement has prompted me to reflect about why schools are so important to the future of our society – to our future. I think you will agree that society is somewhat fragile at the moment and if we are going to build a bright future out of it then much of the responsibility lies firmly with the next generation – our learners.

I often hear the expression ‘British Values’ thrown around in education regarding how well we positively prepare our learners for life in modern Britain. Democracy, law, liberty, respect and tolerance are included in the list. I don’t think any of us would disagree with these things as being important. For me, British Values boils down to two things: altruistically caring and respecting each other regardless of any differences. I also think and a good cup of tea is essential too.

However you interpret or view British Values our commonality is that they will shape our future. The values we impart to our learners will impact the way the country is governed and the laws that operate as well as the healthcare and services that we will engage with. Every interaction with the learners of Honywood can either have a positive or negative effect on the values they take with them into that society. They may not thank us right now but if we have done our job well, rest assured they will silently thank us in the future by shaping the world we live in for the better. They will go on to take care of the next generation of children; they will keep us safe; they will take care of our health as we age; they will entertain us; they will set our laws; they will feed us and they will lead us.

The responsibility of getting them there simply can’t rest on one group of people. I keep referencing that old proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. I would like to thank parents, carers, teachers and the wider community for the support that you continue to give us and for being that village. As we approach the summer holiday I am asking families to keep the baton for a little bit longer and continue to develop our young people into the model citizens of the future so that we may ensure that the 20% are equipped with the right values to lead us into the future. We am looking forward to receiving the baton back from you all in September as we welcome back your most precious ones.

However you all use the break from Honywood this summer I wish you the very best.

James Saunders

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