Seasons in the sun

I hope that this shortened week has been positive and pleasant.


We are in the season of seasons.


Firstly, a massive congratulations to Rotherham United Football Club who secured their place in the Championship for another season, in the last week or so. I’m pleased to say that my club, Middlesbrough, did the Millers a favour, offering them that needed score draw and point, and allowing them to go into the final game of the season comfortable in the knowledge that, whatever happened at Wigan, they were safe. I’d like you all to think that I used my influence, with the Boro, to get that result but, sadly, my reach doesn’t stretch that far. I am, as many of you will be, very pleased for the Millers, and the town, that we’ve got Championship football next season.


And as one season closes another one opens.


Congratulations and well done to all of those children, staff and long-suffering parents involved in the SATs this week; especially those at Sitwell Junior School. We could discuss the value of these tests, as an experience and as a valuable tool for judging the progress that children and all schools have made, but this week we put those debates to one side. It really is about the children and the staff and how together they can get through this very difficult period. It is really quite intense.


I’ve had the privilege, over the past couple of years, to witness how our children work, how well prepared they are and how all of the staff at Sitwell Junior School interact with our children during this incredibly stressful period. Well done and thank you to you all. It really will be a well-earned weekend of rest for all those from Sitwell.


But not for all in our community because for those at Oakwood High School and Thomas Rotherham College the exam season is about to open.  After months and years of practice and preparation those all-important terminal exams are about to begin. We work hard to prepare our children and young people academically and psychologically for those exams yet that moment, when we allow them to enter the exam hall or room and we can no longer be there for them, can be quite painful for all of us; be that pupils or students, professionals or parents. It is in that moment where all we can do is to allow our children and young people to fly solo. They need to do it, they have to do it, but it doesn’t make it any easier for us or for them.


I know that each and every one of my colleagues, working in support of our children and young people, readying them for their examinations, has worked ever so hard and, as usual, has gone over and above to make sure that their charges are incredibly well prepared. For that I publicly thank them all.


That’s all we can do at this stage. The rest will be what it is. Let’s not over think this, let’s just make sure that we all continue to offer our children and young people the support that they need, when they need it, and believe that all of our collective endeavours will bear fruit for those children and young people.


It’s a shortened weekend, or a weekend, as we used to call them! – we return to more disciplined times.


And from an ex-teacher…


‘I was probably more scared of my high school exams than I was of the Oscars. At the time you think it’s everything and if you don’t do well, your life’s over. Opportunities are gone. So the more you do it, the less the fear is present.’ Hugh Jackman


Whatever you’re up to make sure you enjoy, and if you are supporting a child or young person in your personal (other than professional) life I wish you and them the very best of luck.