Forty Days and Forty Nights!

Forty days into ‘lockdown’ and there are glimmers of light at the end of what is a very long tunnel. As COVID-19 extended its grip over the United Kingdom, we worked extremely hard to minimise risk whilst continuing to deliver an outstanding quality of education. It is now our responsibility to ensure that the same level of planning underpins the incremental re-opening of our physical site in the fullness of time. Consequently, a good deal of our strategic energy is directed towards ensuring that we are positioned to welcome children back to school within the context of an environment that is both safe and secure. The level of risk assessment and planning required to ensure that we are an exemplar of best practice, in terms of health and wellbeing, consumes much of our time.

This week our Year 11 and Year 13 students are sitting examinations and completing online assessments as part of the Rossall School Diploma. The fact that we are able to administer and invigilate a full cycle of examinations in no less than forty one countries is truly phenomenal. The fact that our teachers have been so adaptive and our students so engaged reflects incredibly well on Rossall School in 2020. It is extraordinary to reflect upon the distance that we have travelled in such a short period of time and there is no doubt in my mind that the true strength of this community is reflected in our ability to overcome any challenges or obstacles put in our place. It is in times of adversity that we reflect upon the value of all that we hold dear. I really enjoyed yesterday’s Zoom Meeting with our new team of monitors and I know that they are desperate to get back to School in order to assume their roles more fully.

Sir William Frankland (1908-2020)

This week I have been inspired by Sir William Frankland who joined Rossall School in March, 1922. This remarkable man was born three weeks before the sinking of the Titanic and entered Rossall Junior School over 98 years ago. Sir William went on to become Britain’s preeminent immunologist and allergist. It was Sir William who popularised the concept of the ‘pollen count’ as a useful piece of weather related information. He also suggested that living in over-sterile environments increased resistance to penicillin. Sir William was imprisoned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during the Second World War and went on to work with Sir Alexander Fleming during the 1950s.

Sir William retired from his job at St Mary’s Hospital at the age of 65 but carried on working until his mid-eighties at Guy’s Hospital where he researched peanut anaphylaxis and other paediatric allergies. He was the oldest ever guest to appear on Desert Island Discs at the age of 103 and he had an article published in 2016, when he was 104 years of age. Most recently, he was interviewed in March about the coronavirus pandemic and drew comparisons with the Spanish Influenza of 1918 which he remembered vividly.

Throughout his life, Sir William strived to improve the lives of his fellow human beings. All parents living with children suffering from allergies should feel incredibly grateful for his contribution to this most important area of medicine. However, I am sure that all of us are inspired by this incredible life story.

WIshing everyone a happy weekend.

All best wishes,