What will we be seeing and hearing as students return?

As I write we are preparing – as all schools are – to welcome the Whitgift community back in its proper fulness – and it will of course be wonderful to do so.

So many thanks are due: to the exceptional medical staff, and an army of support and administration staff, along with senior leaders, who conducted well over Covid 1000 tests on Saturday, and whose efforts have been heroic. And to parents, who have been so supportive: reports of difficulties in the press were absent here and, I suspect, in most schools.

What will we be seeing and hearing? Excitement no doubt, tempered by calm and sensible caution, but the sense of optimism is tangible. The boys will return to some changes: a new (temporary) eight classroom block will give a taste of pedestrian freedom to the new Senior Quad (which will be double the size when the new sixth form centre is ultimately built where the grounds and estates buildings now are); the CCF quad has been pedestrianised and opened up too; benches and picnic tables abound. With spring comes a chance to be outside more, and on some pitches … though I know the community will all understand the need for patience is here, some still needing their spring sowing to bed in.

I think everyone wants some routine: exam classes still have a march to the end of year qualifications, themselves different, and the rhythm of the term will I hope pick up on all sides. The emphasis will be away from screens, and the hope to recapture all we can of missed activities, as soon as possible.

But once again this weekend came evidence of ingenuity which will doubtless stay with us. The First Form, temporarily denied a play, gave us a superb Radio Play – The Wardrobe – which was a joy to listen to and an amazingly professional production. Or rather no, not amazing: as one parent wrote on Saturday, if anyone can do it, Whitgift can.

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