Croydon’s Vicar (and Whitgift Governor) Fr Andrew, who has thankfully kept services going (and I’m proud to say supported by our – joint – musicians) rightly yesterday paid tribute to teachers and families for the ‘slog’ of learning this term. And it is still only January, enlivened though, surely, by a flurry of snow.
That it’s tough for primary school families can be in no doubt. Lizzie Catt’s heartfelt Sunday Times article may have had a bit of journalist hype in it, but not much. Talking to primary school children through our 10+ and 11+ admissions process has brought home to me, as if I needed it, how much children need school. In a draft presentation for governors which I shared last week with senior colleagues I had put the word ‘grieve’ for children’s longing for school. I thought it might be too strong. Leave it in, my team said.
Yes, we have, proudly, our doors open for a good number of those who simply need to be here, but actually all children are ‘vulnerable’, none more so than those older ones whom we now must coax to look ahead. And they must, because as educationalists we must and do believe in the best, that the right things will come to be, and that for our pupils and indeed all pupils, better times are ahead.
In the meantime, courtesy of my excellent colleague Mr Norris, on a call to some boys this week (‘lunch’!), some obvious but excellent advice: open the window or at least the curtains; move around between lessons; call each other (don’t just leave Teams on!); do something in the late afternoon/early evening which isn’t looking at a screen; plan ahead. Honestly, do.
Two hundred years ago Shelley wrote with horror about the terrible year of 1819 in England, ending with the thought that the terrible events of that time were ‘graves from which a glorious Phantom may /
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.’ Amen to that.