|Over 21 million UK citizens have now been vaccinated and, across the nation, children are eagerly awaiting the reopening of schools on Monday morning. It has been a horrendous year and I am acutely conscious of the fact that this most recent lockdown has been especially hard to endure for children and parents alike.
It is inevitable that some of us will feel a little anxious next week but we should remember that our children are remarkably resilient and endlessly adaptive. Reports referring to a ‘lost generation’ of young people are unhelpful and typical of the hyperbolic and alarmist speculation that has coloured so much of the media’s response to this crisis. Our children will be just fine and rather than fretting about them ‘catching up’ (not something that should be necessary at Rossall given the outstanding quality of our online provision), we should focus upon ensuring that they really flourish here at School.
What we tell our children does matter. As parents, we can unwittingly project some of our own anxieties onto our children. Occasionally, we assume that they will struggle because somewhere internally, we are struggling. I do not doubt that my own children were affected by the inevitable worries that we experienced back in March, 2020. Honestly, we are not always as good at hiding our emotions as we might imagine. Similarly, I know that some of our children will have been aware of financial concerns or the anxiety and sadness that we have felt with regards to aged and/or isolated family members. We try our best to protect our children but the pressures upon families have been overwhelming during recent months.
The word ‘normal’ is perhaps unhelpful insomuch as I am not sure that any of us really know what ‘normal’ even means anymore. Nevertheless, we do need to treat Monday as a return to some degree of business as usual. It is important that our children come to school:
– immaculately attired
– with all the right equipment (books, folders, pens, iPads etc.)
– ready to throw themselves back into school life
– fully mindful of the protocols and procedures put in place to ensure – that we remain a COVID safe environment.
The support, encouragement and praise that we will give our children during the next few weeks will provide them with the reassurance that they need at this time. Similarly, our collective expectations that we should make a brilliant return will help them to make an effective transition back to School life.
I would ask that we all make an especial effort to ensure that our children really do look the part when they return to school. Looking smart will help all of us to feel in the right frame of mind.
You will be aware of the government guidelines regarding lateral flow testing. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we adhere to these guidelines. In opting out, we risk the health of others within our community and potentially serve to disrupt the education of entire year groups. We have all heard the arguments and counterarguments about issues connected with COVID but there is strong evidence that measures such as social distancing, testing and the wearing of masks save lives. In this regard, our responsibility to one another is very clear. I would ask that all parents read the pupil protocols very carefully and please do ensure that your children are fully cognisant of our expectations.
Finally, we are delighted that our children are returning to school. After such a disruptive year, we are determined that school life needs to resume as quickly as possible. Whilst precautions will remain in place for the remainder of this term, we are so pleased that outdoor sports and all of our other after-school activities can resume almost immediately. We have enjoyed seeing so many of our day pupils today and I know that they share our desire to return to School. The opportunity to reconnect with friends, to learn together and play together is priceless.
As restrictions ease, we are looking forward to meeting more of our parents in person and although Monday does not constitute an absolute return to normal school life, it is an incredibly important step and one for which we have waited for so long.
We are back and we are resolved to make this a fabulous half term.
All best wishes,
Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School