Inward looking, outward facing

Beyond our doors, and even beyond our shores, things can look particularly bleak, even depressing, at times. The national political and economic situation looks particularly dire at the moment. And then when we look overseas we can see dark clouds; particularly in eastern Europe. It can become quite overwhelming at times. When things are tough, and certainly when those things that are beyond our immediate control, we need to find things to lift our spirits.

At these times, I look inward, even though we are outward facing. I take the opportunity here to nudge you all to think about who we are, what we do and, most importantly, why we do it. We can all be rightly proud of our work at any time but, particularly at this time, we can look at what we achieve, day in day out, and bask in a warm, but not complacent glow.

I recognise that Sitwell Junior School has had some significant challenges around staffing and pupil attendance over the last couple of weeks, due to the Covid crisis. The virus has particularly hit hard the pre-vaccinated age group, in recent weeks and, as a consequence, staff have found it hard to protect themselves from picking up the virus. Yet, the staff body have stood together, as one, and have ensured that the provision for children and the support for each other has been absolutely outstanding. Well done and thank you to you all.

At Oakwood there have been a whole series of internal examinations over the past couple of weeks. These are necessary in preparing our children and young people for the exams that they have upcoming either this summer or beyond. Alongside this there have been a whole raft of extra-curricular / extra-mural / curriculum enhancing activities and events. All of those are designed to add some value to the educational experience. It has been become quite popular (even fashionable) more recently to talk about adding cultural capital. That’s something that Oakwood and this community have been doing for years now.

At Thomas Rotherham College the challenges of teaching in difficult circumstances remain. The overwhelming majority of students have been in every day and the progress that those students are now making is remarkable. To add to this the college hosted its second open evening just this week. It’s looking like that across the two events (November and this last Thursday) we have seen record numbers of young people come through the door. It seems that the young people, of this community and beyond, have a real appetite for education and, in particular, the unique product and environment which Thomas Rotherham College offers. Thank you all for your patience and support for all of this.

‘Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it’. Marian Wright Edelman

Beyond all of this we do have an FA Cup weekend to look forward to.

There’s something about the FA Cup; especially for the older generation. It brings back warm memories of days when there was much less football on the television and the FA Cup final, in particular, was one of those the nation stops moments. My team, Middlesbrough, are at Old Trafford tonight. By the time you read this they will have probably been well and truly dumped out of the cup however, as I write this before the game there is hope, there is something to look forward to, and whatever the result, I hope the game will bring some fun.

Thank you all, for your contributions to and the support for the work that we do across this community. It truly does make a difference.