Dr Comina's Thought for the TermPosted on: 18/06/2021
In September, we looked at the fresh starts offered by a new academic year. In my own words from that time:
“I love the beginning of a new school year …the clean, white pages of a (metaphorical) pristine exercise book … are filled with opportunity….they can appear daunting ….but will gradually be filled. It is an amazing time of year to have such a blank canvas to work on.”
So, as we approach the end of what has been a hugely different year to normal, how are those pristine white pages looking now? What have we achieved this year? What lessons have we learnt and what will we look to improve upon next year?
Well, firstly, I imagine the metaphorical book of our academic year is no longer pristine. I suspect that, for many of us, it is written in, scribbled out, then re-written, edited, deleted, changed again, all reflecting the turbulence of working and living with Covid. I would argue, though, that most exercise books look like this even at the end of a more typical year in school. We will always be subject to changes and additions and revisions through the months. As ever, we have adapted our lives through the year to match the circumstances; to flex and bend in the winds of each term and each change in the seasons, and we have done so admirably. Well done you!
Secondly, we have, I feel, become a little more attuned to our personal freedoms, or perhaps reduction of them, and as a consequence we value these more, especially as we continue through the opening up of restrictions. We have learnt to make the most of opportunities when they arise, because they are so precious to us.
Looking back at the year, I also feel that our schools stand together as communities more strongly than ever. At Didcot Girls’ School, recently, each year group worked to produce and celebrate words and ideas that have brought them together. Our staff and pupils in both schools have shown the best of themselves in difficult times, supporting each other through the changes and the lockdowns and numerous returns to school. We continue to explore and demonstrate those ideas that make up our values: inclusivity and diversity and respect for all.
So, on reflection, we have definitely had our ups and downs this year, and there have been many challenges thrown at us along the way, but I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved this year as a community and I know that even if the ‘exercise book’ is now a little ragged and tatty around the edges, the contents are truly worth celebrating.