We have made it to the end
We have made it to the end. I would like to thank all our learners for the incredible job they have done over the last term and to our families for their wonderful support. We have lived through a defining moment in history that will be looked back on for years to come. When you relive our shared experience somewhere down the line please remember the remarkable job you all did in contributing to keeping our school community functioning. I think we can hold our heads high; we have not just managed or limped through it, we have taken bold and confident steps into the unknown and embraced the challenges that laid ahead. We have navigated through a crisis and a society full of fear and anxiety in a way that we should be proud of and I have been proud to share the experience with you. Thank you.
I hope that learners and families are able to get some time together to switch off from the madness and achieve some peace and happiness. I certainly won’t be bothering any of you with emails so enjoy your holiday.
I gave my final assembly to C10s today (I did it for the eighth time). The theme has been regret..Regret is something that defines who we are: our character. I have been posing the question ‘is it better to regret something you have done or something you haven’t done?’. And through that question our C10s have reflected on any regrets they have over the last year. In truth I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer as every regret helps to make us the person we are today. So as you all look back over the last term or the last year you may well have regrets about things you did or things you wish you did but didn’t. Don’t let them eat you up and don’t judge others for things they have done. We have been in a unique position often without a rulebook. Accept that your feelings, your thoughts, your ideas and your actions have helped you to become better, stronger and more capable than you were before. The past year has contributed to the way you will tackle the next one and you are all going to do just fine.
This week I have been completing our Risk Assessment for September opening. It was a beast to write and is just as gargantuan to read. The key message still stands: keep clean and keep apart. The thing about managing risk is that it is never perfect as it occupies an imperfect world. Think of managing risk a bit like managing not getting run over. In the beginning there were cars and people got run over. So we built roads and paths to keep them separate. Yet still people got run over. So we put in rules for crossing roads (green cross code), signposts, speed limits and the highway code.
Yet still there is a chance that people will get run over. The probability will have reduced but the risk will never be eliminated. A risk assessment can never eliminate risk, it just makes it something we manage. Our September risk assessment is no different. It offers a solution to a currently unsolvable problem in an imperfect world. You may look at things and think what’s the point. What’s the point in keeping cohort’s separate when they mix on the bus or with a sibling or out of school. The point is simple. Our efforts will still contribute to reducing the risk. We can only control what we can control. I am confident that what we have in place makes for a safe place for us to work in. We have to view this as a work in progress. Planning is one thing – living and breathing it is another. It will only be in September that we get to see how it works on the ground. Some things may need to change. Some things may not play out the way we expected. And some things may just need to go because the national landscape has changed. Whatever is thrown at us you have demonstrated, as a community, the capacity to traverse through the storm in a calm and considered manner that always puts our learners at the heart of our community.
I am sure that over the course of the summer there will be changes in the guidance we receive which may mean adapting our plans. Please don’t worry about what you hear. I can assure you we will be on top of it. I would like to provide a quick summary of some of our key changes for September. I shall publish our Risk Assessment on the school website next week along with some more detailed information.
What day do we return to school?
Here is a reminder of what I shared with you last week.
C7 Start on Thursday 3rd Sep and are in school by themselves for two days
C11 and C10 Start on Monday 7th September
C8 and C9 – Start on Tuesday 8th September
Preparations for this full reopening have been underway for some time. The school is fully staffed for the new academic year and the timetable is written. Since our learners have engaged so effectively with the virtual version of school, we are confident that the transition back to the live classroom will be a smooth one and they will be back on track in no time at all.
Learners will be following their normal lessons. They will return to school in full Honywood uniform, so it is worth making sure that this is all in order for September: you will be amazed to see how much your child has grown in 4 months! (Please check the website for guidance on our dress code.)
Inevitably, there will be a few changes to school life. Some of the changes will be as follows:
Learners will be allocated to specific areas during breaks and lunchtimes and will be expected to be outside as much as possible during these times.
Movement around the school will be one-way only, and no gatherings in the corridor will be permitted at all. I have tested this out and it does mean that it can be more awkward to get from one class to another.
Desks in classrooms will face the front and teachers will be required to keep at social distance from learners and each other.
Learners will not be permitted to touch each other and regular handwashing and use of alcohol gel will become routine.
We will be asking that learners bring their own personal hand sanitiser and small pack of tissues with them.
Break and lunch will be staggered to avoid all cohorts mixing and help with the flow of people. This will mean that some lessons may have a break halfway through them.
No assemblies or large gatherings.
There will be a staggered end to the school day to avoid the gathering of large groups on exit – 5 min delay.
All of these measures will be put in place to reduce risk and to make it easier for the track and trace system to operate effectively.
Learners will go straight to LS1 when they arrive at school instead of their learning group.
Staff teaching will go to break / lunch with the groups they are teaching at that point in time. E.g. if teaching C9 LS1 early break 9.40 – 9.55am.
Our whole school approach to all facets of the child will steer us through the next year and provide learners with just what they need. Gavin Williamson recently talked about the purpose of education being about preparing learners to get a job. It has to be more than that. Surely these recent months have made that clear. Let’s remind ourselves of the words of a leader who has exemplified empathy throughout the past few months: “Economic growth accompanied by worsening social outcomes is not success. It is failure.” – Jacinda Ardern. Our capital enhancing curriculum will ensure we keep an eye on the real purpose of education and do not churn out economically viable automatons. We will create well rounded learners who will pave the way and make our society a better place.
I wish you a very happy and peaceful summer and thank you all for your support.