Welcome to my second weekly newsletter. In an attempt to effectively communicate with all our community this newsletter, and those from now on, will be in both English and Portuguese, so do keep scrolling for your preferred language.
This week I have been reflecting on the start of year and comparing it to the other times a new school year has begun with me as a child, a teacher and as a leader, too many to remember really! What is different, what is the same, what is common to all and how are we adapting in a new situation?
With the exception of this school year, all others have of course been in school. We are used to meeting the students or teachers on the first day and starting to build those bonds that will last us through the year and see us experience highs and lows together, to overcome any difficulties and achieve, but above all else, to have that unique completely trusted relationship every teacher and their students in a class have. Every school year this relationship and trust takes time to establish as the children get to know their teachers, as the teachers get to know the learning styles of each individual child. So how is this different now? What similarities are there? How are our teachers as professionals adapting to serve our community and students?
In essence, this is exactly the same, just that we are doing this online. It is only two weeks into term and yet our teachers have been getting to know their classes, getting to build these bonds and relationships, and getting to understand how your children engage and learn best. As they do this over the next few weeks then the learning will also improve, students will start to understand the routines set by their teacher more and engagement will increase in all tasks. Just as children get to know a new classroom and the routines, they have to remember how to do this at home again after the summer. I think perhaps this engagement and relationship may take a little while longer to form but when it does it will be just as strong, and potentially stronger, as we have all been through adversity. When we are together again, all this groundwork at the start of the year, all this effort to get to know your children and adapt and personalize their learning will give rewards and benefits to all. We are preparing to fly.
Our Employee Assistance Program
Of course, as we try and navigate our way through online learning and eventual reintegration into school there are other emotional and psychological difficulties that some may be experiencing. Being part of a large group can give us access to many additional services and support and Nord Anglia has recognized that this is a challenging time for some, emotionally and psychologically, for both staff and our families, and so has launched an Employee Assistance Program which we all have access to. This is a 24 hour, 7 days a week service specifically to offer: counselling for emotional and psychological support; practical guidance and support on legal, financial, family and work matters; and also, online health and well-being guidance. This is a fantastic initiative for all of our community and so if you would like to know more about it and how it works then please click this link. Once accessed the service is available in multiple languages.
I do hope those of you who attended my first coffee morning on Thursday found it informative and useful. I did mention that I would be updating school developments over the coming weeks and also our Heads of School will do the same in more detail, sharing the learning impact as well as the visual improvements as these projects near completion. Our first completed project of significance is actually just outside of the school. You will know that the pavement at our front gate was uneven and a potential trip hazard, now it is a beautiful-paved area which is safe and more visually appealing.
Another project started that I would like to share with you is the early years roof. Before it was quite dark in the playground but as you can see from the photographs, the whole area has been cleared and a new sleek roof with glass is beginning installation. This will completely enhance the outside area and allow continued use throughout the day and year. I can imagine the faces of the children as they see it complete for the first time and can use, enjoy and learn in it together. Once we get closer to completion then I know you will be receiving more information from Mrs. Priestley and her team. Next week I will share some of the many improvements in Secondary that Mr. Holman and his team have been working hard with.
Please do have a fantastic weekend!
Principal Nick West