As I am writing this afternoon I do so in a state of uncertainty. Covid-19 is upon us as a country and with that brings far more questions than answers.
As a Head Teacher I have a huge amount of empathy for our Government and Boris Johnson as they seek to make the best choices for each and every one of the citizens of the United Kingdom. This, I would say is something of an impossible dilemma. It appears that the entire World’s media have somehow become experts in epidemiology and social media is awash with opinions that go against the advice the UK Government is providing us. It is amazing how people can suddenly become ‘experts’ in a discipline they have never heard of before, let alone gained qualifications and a life-time of experience working in working in the discipline.
Still, we continue to see a rise in deaths of our most vulnerable citizens who, with already weakened immune systems, have succumbed to the grip of Covid-19. From a school perspective we are just as in the dark about this pandemic as the rest of the country. Our daily Department of Education emails simply reiterate the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ strategy, as well as linking us to the various gov.uk articles.
With so many of the World’s schools closing amid mass self-isolation strategies it seems that is only a matter of time before UK schools suffer the same fate. It is this that I am finding to be the biggest challenge. Education is such a driving force in determining a young person’s future and the thought that we will be entrusting learning to online resources and independent study at such a critical time for many is a worry.
My assemblies this week will focus on self-discipline: when it comes to Covid-19, our children need to make the right choices to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus, so regular hand-washing and avoiding being in close proximity to their friends. The other area where self-discipline will be significant is with their own education. If we are forced to close then there will be a huge responsibility on the children to access their learning for themselves, to have the self-discipline required to complete their work to the best possible standard and to seek help through the online channels when they don’t quite understand.
This is a unique situation, one we would never choose to face but one we are dealing with nonetheless. I always look for the opportunity in every situation and in this one I see a huge opportunity for our young people to step up to the plate, to take ownership of their future and to commit to their own learning so they can develop the independent learning habits that will see them succeed in life.