Welcome back

A belated welcome back. I hope that you all had a relaxing and restful half term break. As it is the way in schools and college, I’m sure that break feels like a lifetime away right now. It’s been a little more difficult than it has needed to be this week solely on the basis of some of our neighbouring authorities still being off for the Easter break this week. I appreciate that this does apply significant pressure to some of you who might have family or friends who go to school in those authorities. It puts unnecessary pressure on us all. Thank you for making this week a very positive return after the Easter break.

As we move into the final term of this very strange year many of us will be turning our minds to some of those fundamental questions which schools and colleges annually face. Most importantly, at this time of year we are thinking carefully about assessments and, usually, those terminal exams.

We all (that is the professionals, the pupils and students) are facing something of a stressful period. Whether we are comfortable or not with what we have to do around issuing assessed grades we are where we are (as they say) and we will do our very best to make sure that, on behalf of all of our children and young people, we manage that process with professionalism and integrity. I know that there will be some individuals in other institutions who might be railing against what Ofqual and the government have set us as a challenge but we here, know what those challenges are and know what we have to do. We will remain focused on doing the right thing by the institution, for this community and for the children and young people we serve. You can be reassured that we will not allow ourselves to become consumed by the rights and wrongs, whys and wherefores of these policy decisions. Sometimes it’s best just to think about and concentrate on those things which we can control, rather than those things which we cannot control.

I do find, within our educational community, an admirable professional pragmatism. This is something of a refreshing approach. We have highly committed professionals and we may take some time, on occasions, to engage in debate and discussion about educational policy and philosophy however, we do know when the time is right for us just to focus on the problems which we face and find solutions to those problems. That pragmatism allows us collectively to solve the most intractable of problems and, in turn, we offer not only a better service to our community.

This is about an attitude. It’s about a group of professionals working together, putting the best interests of our children and young people at the heart of everything that we do and what we believe to be right. We find that in doing this, we have and find more things that bring us closer together than might drive us apart; whether that be seen as educational gaps in practice and philosophy. One of the key attributes of the very best educational professionals is to find solutions to problems, not find problems – full stop.

‘The common belief is that you are either a dreamer or a realist. But idealism and pragmatism aren’t as far apart as one might think’. Bill de Blasio

On it being an attitude; it is right for me to make mention of the start of Ramadan. I wish all of our Muslim friends, neighbours and colleagues the best as many embark on an important personal journey within their faith. You have my admiration in your commitment to the teachings of Islam and your determination and resilience as you fast, this holy month.