As I wander round this shell of a building, each day is a struggle to comprehend the now, to see something nurtured and grown, stripped back. Just an empty carapace. This isn’t “our” school
A school isn’t a building. Great schools are alive. They are vibrant. There is an energy, a togetherness, a common focus, a love and dare I say it a community. Children are the blood the runs through the veins of a school, without them it is withered lifeless husk.
What the last six weeks has shown, is how much a school really does. We have held our communities together, we have supported those of most need, we have been there again and again. The work isn’t just about education, in fact in many cases the education has been secondary to the real issues. School have in the greatest sense of the word been bothered. It’s not just about the home –schooling offer. I have delivered food parcels, talked with parents to help them find solutions, managed staff anxieties and supported them(I’ve seen some ridiculous demands on some staff). and a thousand other jobs I never thought I’d have to do. I can honestly say I haven’t stopped.
I’ve been lucky to have had the support of an amazing group of headteachers and an incredibly pro-active trust that have supported every step of the way. Equally our staff have been amazing, both those who’ve been in and those who’ve tirelessly worked from home.
When the head of Ofsted states that schools would have been found wanting, I think all it really shows is that she hasn’t a clue what we’ve done. When she talked about parents needing Ofsted because there will be no exam results to judge school’s on, I would guarantee that this crisis has perhaps allowed parents to really see the school their child goes to for the first time. I would say now is the time for Ofsted to support schools, not promote themselves as some ‘Sword of Damocles’ wielding arbiter of false value. I look at the schools and heads I work with and not one has let their children or their families down, not one school isn’t striving to do what they’re doing better every single day.
I said to my staff that the aim was that when we open everybody will walk back in that door. My staff are not expendable they are the beating heart of this place. We want to be open, there is not a headteacher in the land that doesn’t want the children back in their school, but we have to do in a way that is as safe as we can make it.
What that will look like is anybody’s guess, there will not be a normal for some time.
We won’t be able to start where we left off, there will be hundreds of stories and needs. Every school’s return to normality will be different. Genuinely who is anybody to judge whether that is right or wrong, what I do know is that school leaders and their staff will strive to make the right choices for their families, children, communities, but it won’t be led by the science it will be led by the heart.