It’s the new year!

Happy New Year

Unlike previous years there won’t be anything about New Year’s resolutions. You may have resolved to do something, give up something or change something but many of us will have said …’not this year’. For those who have known me for some time you might be expecting something about me giving up coffee … ‘not this year!’

Throughout 2020 there has been week after week when I could write about how challenging that week had been. Many of those weeks would’ve been the most difficult weeks that we were faced with in schools and colleges, or in our wider communities. In the ‘olden days’ (pre-COVID, not the 1970s) we would have thought that a very difficult period or series of events would end and that might be it for a number of years, before we really have another terrifically difficult day/week. No such luck in 2020. Many of us were hoping that 2021 would be very much a better year.

As we peered into our crystal balls, in the wee small hours of New Year’s Day, many of us could see the dim lights of hope. Those lights might be vaccines, falling COVID infection rates, simpler days at work and the possibility of seeing family and friends in the flesh. All those things may yet happen but just to ensure that we don’t run away with ourselves we’ve had the cold reality of the first working week in January bringing us back down with a heavy thud. We’ve all, in the country, experienced a week as difficult as almost any other time in the past 12 months.

That said; we’ve got through it. There have been bumps on the way and things have been more challenging than we might have expected when we woke to the new school and college week on Monday morning; due mostly to decisions being taken in Westminster, which not only surprised in respect of their significance but also their timing and time given to do what was expected of us all.

Much of what we’ve done in schools and the college and in your homes and workplaces has been way beyond what you might have been expected to do. I have no doubts that you will have all done what you’ve had to do with good humour, with professionalism and with a commitment to the neighbourhoods and community within which we live and work.

We in the schools and the college know that, in working through this very challenging time, we have three constituencies to be mindful of and take care of: the pupils/students, the community and the staff. Those pillars are equally important and we do not prioritise one over the other – for if we did the edifice would surely tumble. We do understand that we have a role to play in helping this community get through the terrifically difficult crisis we face. We aren’t an emergency service, working in education and it would be foolish to say we were; however, we know the value of education and we know the contribution that we make. I thank you all for supporting us as we make that contribution and I thank you all for the value you add to the pupil’s and student’s lives, to ensuring that this community is safe, stable and strong and for the support, help and good humour you show to us and each other.

And looking back to look forward, I would now usually say … ‘and have a great weekend’. However, I know that the weekend will be what the weekend is. For many of us that will be very limited in respect of what we do, where we go, who we do it with and how much we enjoy it. As the old phrase goes – it is what it is.

‘Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.’ Oprah Winfrey

 ‘Ring out the false, ring in the true’. Alfred Lord Tennyson

‘To be an ideal guest, stay at home’. E. W. Howe

I guess it’s best that I just say thank you for everything that you’ve done this week.