I fully intended to blog, sharing my thoughts, more frequently than I have done! I think that’s a mixture of school continuing to be so, so busy and needing even more care, time and attention than ever, along with not expecting the emotional load of finding ways to lead a school in such unexpected circumstances: the thinking time needed, the considered decision-making needed and adjusting to new ways of working certainly takes time and energy. I have found myself lacking the stamina and the pace to work the long days needed like before lockdown, and find myself stretching out my work across the week – while also knowing that needing to ‘switch off’, ‘look after myself’ and ‘recharge’ are equally important for having the emotional resilience to support others.
This evening, I have read the responses from the consultation sent to nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 parents/carers on Friday afternoon about the planned re-opening of school to a wider number of pupils, as well as all the records of parent contact made by teachers on Friday (I didn’t read them on Friday as we were interviewing). I am touched by the kind words of support and encouragement from parents/carers that I – and indeed all school staff – have received from the Oldway community during school closure, as we work together to do the best we can for our children. It’s not always been easy, but we’ve found ways to do what’s needed to keep our children safe and healthy.
Many friends, members of staff or parents/carers at the gate have remarked over the last few weeks about the challenges I’ve faced in my first year of Headship. Yes, it’s certainly been challenging and, I’ll be honest, in the last couple of months since the start of the pandemic, also completely overwhelming, at times. However, at no point this year have I felt alone. I am truly thankful for the support and faith of the whole staff team at Oldway, the commitment and integrity of Oldway’s School Leadership Team and governors, the respect from parents/carers who trust that Oldway will do what’s best for our children, the support from co-Heads and colleagues in other schools who have shared ideas, and been open about the struggles and challenges we are facing, as well as inspiring practitioners and leaders in education who find creative ways to share ideas online and support collaborative ways of working.
In what could be a time of great self-doubt, I’ve never felt more confidence, strength and togetherness.