From the desk of the Head Master 27 March 2020
What a strange week. My last blog was written before the announcement of the school closures and so much has changed in the mood and the advice we have been given.
We are all adapting to a new way of working which may be with us for a long stretch of the summer. I have taught my first remote lessons with my lower sixth Maths set – the technology coped and they seemed to make good progress - and work is coming in. Speaking to other teachers, it is remarkable how quickly they have adapted to using Microsoft Teams and how well the boys are responding. A huge debt of thanks is owed to Ms Wyatt, Deputy Head Teaching & Learning, who has worked tirelessly over the past fortnight to ensure we all know what we are doing with remote learning. Our IT team have done fantastically well too – so often we grumble when something doesn’t work, and we don’t notice them when things are trundling on nicely. They have done really well to keep the show on the road from the technical side.
While I am seeing this from the teaching perspective, I am also getting a lot of insight from being a parent as we juggle working from home while supervising the kids’ remote learning. Of course we all have worries about what the future might hold, from the assessment of exam grades to the economic downturn, to the impact of the virus itself on us and our families, and on top of that the tensions of being cooped up. We all have to recognise the challenge of facing this down while staying sound in body and mind. The PE dept are giving boys physical challenges which they have also shared with the staff. I am trying to do my 30 mins exercise each day. And maintaining relationships is crucial – that phone call to grandma has never been so important.
It is important we continue to feel like a community. I am doing a series of virtual assemblies which you might steer the boys towards – I may be too much of an optimist to expect them to check in at 8.50am each Wednesday as we would for a normal whole school assembly, but where possible, more routine is undoubtedly a good thing. Topics so far include nova systems in astronomy and Paddington Bear. With no Friday Activities, I am asking tutors to use this Friday afternoon to have some form tutor time, again through Teams, and catch up with the boys. The boys should know that their tutors and Heads of Section are there for them (at the end of a computer) to continue to offer support.