Thousands of headteachers reached for ever larger bottles last night following the release of the government’s Guidance for Reopening Schools.
As the dust settles and the wine exits our systems I can’t help but think that we can only do the best we can with it. As a profession we are underrated. Let’s not underrate ourselves too.
It is a shame that the title did not include the words ‘ambitious’ or ‘optimistic’, at least then that takes the pressure off us a little. There is a lot in the document that is impossible to visualise. Is it really realistic that the local authority will arrange for our little children to go to other schools if we do not have capacity?
It does feel that the government is saying that there is a risk to all, but we will try to limit the risk – some people will fall ill but as few as possible. Just imagine the tension that will emerge when the first person starts coughing in the corner.
I generally think that the children will cope with the change, children are pretty adaptable and resilient. The children that already find school stressful will struggle even more though – not just because they are back at school (in quite constrained classrooms), but that that tender adult helping hand will likely not be available to them. The problem will be the staff. Staff shortages, staff anxiety, staff tiredness. There will always be that occasional teacher or member of support staff who we are all jealous of who just seems to manage well, has bundles of energy and bundles of ideas – even though they won’t have access to the resources they would normally have. But for the most of us – it will be gruelling. We must hope the weather will be good, otherwise we will feel more like prisoners. I feel for those schools who have very limited outdoor space like those old Victorian behemoths with hundreds and even thousands of pupils.
Perhaps my worries are all academic anyway. The unions are doing what they must. I thought at the very beginning of all this some of the unions were the cause of much anxiety in staff, particularly with some very unprofessional, inflammatory and unnecessary language – but now, hopefully, they will attempt to reason with the government. But you know what? I’m doubtful the government will listen.
I crave a return to some normality. Let us dare to imagine what it must be like from the governments point of view. The government is leaking money, people are not working, people are dying, people are complaining. The government must therefore, to some extent force some return to normality at the cost of human lives. It is not a decision I would like to be responsible for. The sad fact is though – our community will hold us to account for what happens.
I want to say to my team – come on, we can do this – we are more capable than we think – the summer holidays aren’t far way. The thing is though, so much feels beyond our control at the moment. It’s definitely a reminder of what we mean by being set up to fail.
Perhaps after all the hard work we will have done by the start of June (forget half term by the way) it will come as some relief to us to have the children back. My heart goes out to you all – we can only do what we can do – we can’t guarantee safety but do guarantee that we will try. Don’t underrate yourself and good luck!