As everyone seems to be saying, and we are certainly feeling here at school, these are strange times. Every member of the Whitgift family will have had unprecedented changes to adapt to this week, some really difficult and unwelcome, a few perhaps surprisingly liberating. I have heard stories of boys starting up podcasts, taking on academic challenges they would not otherwise have done, contacting their vulnerable friends. I have been humbled by hearing of staff ingeniously creating interactive classes, and determinedly pursuing their pupils’ learning.
Meanwhile the sun has shone on us all. One First Former emailed me to congratulate me on becoming a YouTuber… not a career change, I assure you all, nor one I had ever really thought to dabble in. But I hope video messages help to relieve the diet of desk work, and that every Whitgiftian is finding ways to communicate, exercise and stay well.
These are the times that make us as people. Whitgift has been serving its pupils and parents for 400 years, and we will certainly emerge strong and united from this time. In school we are working to improve the online learning, led by my superb colleagues, we are adjusting our financial models, and we are buoyed by the fact that, through all this unfortunate event, our vision needs no adjustment: educating bright and talented young men to become independent learners and thinkers, to achieve beyond what they believed they could, and to leave us ready to give to the society in which they will be leaders.
Our Twitter feed, the Microsoft Teams chats and forums, letters and emails and now more than ever phone calls and video calls will be our ways of communicating over these coming weeks. Perhaps they will remain so after it is all over more than they were before. But human contact will resume, and our school motto – Vincit Qui Patitur – remains a very strong fixed point.
As week 1 of remote learning ends, we have learned much, and are busily preparing for week 2, before we all break for Easter. Keep in touch and stay well!