Mr Byrne's Thought for the TermPosted on: 09/10/2020
Now that we’re halfway through the first term of a new school year, it’s important to remember that fresh starts aren’t unique to the first few weeks of September. As we enter Autumn, we should aim to turn over new leaves and make changes to our personal and academic lives. Whether big or small, we should try our best to anticipate change, embrace it and act upon it.
This September involved fresh starts for us all. Following several months working from home, hidden behind laptop screens and exercise books, we returned to a school site that was reassuringly recognisable but also eerily different. Although our surroundings were familiar, we’ve had to rise to new challenges including navigating a one system, wearing face masks, split timetables and year group bubbles. However, it’s been pleasing to see how pupils have adapted to these new measures with so many smiles and relatively little fuss! It may not be the “fresh start” that most of us imagined the return to school would be, but it’s certainly one that’s been welcomed enthusiastically.
Having made such a great beginning to the school year, I’d encourage you to maintain this fresh start. Returning to school following the extended closure was a huge step. Now keep this going with a continued series of smaller steps. Ms Hopkins recently wrote that “every day is a new beginning”. Fresh starts can certainly be maintained, but they require determination for them to have an impact and be continuous.
It’s also important to make time for moments of reflection and to think about recent personal accomplishments where you rose to a challenge. It may be that you remained focused and committed to your studies over the school closure. You may have taken on new responsibilities in your household whilst parents worked from home. You may have learnt a new skill, cooked a new meal or helped a neighbour with their shopping. All of these are examples of small fresh starts that can serve as a reminder of how you can continue to make further changes.
As Young Carers Lead, I’ve been amazed to hear how some pupils continued to support members of their family over the school closure period. These responsibilities included providing extra care for siblings, taking on more household chores, making more trips to the supermarket for essential supplies and accompanying parents to hospital. These are all examples of ongoing, every-day accomplishments that often go unnoticed by others. This is why it’s important for us to reflect on our own personal achievements and then to use them as inspiration for further, ongoing fresh starts.