Executive Principal’s Blog – 23.10.20: ‘Remember to Choose Hope!’
As we reach the end of one of the most challenging of half terms that anyone in education has ever experienced, I would like to thank first and foremost the inspirational staff who work at Bushey Meads School, closely followed by our superb students who have continued to stay focussed on their learning, Aspiring to Achieve in their lessons and at home.
As we know our school is situated in the heart of Hertsmere, one of the boroughs affected more than most by the Covid-19 pandemic; a number of local families, students at the school and their friends have either contracted the virus or have had to self-isolate as close contacts. We have all been affected by the circumstances we have found ourselves in.
Undoubtedly the pandemic around us has caused fear, frustration, a sense of hopelessness and confusion and often people look to blame others at times like this. I would however like to pay tribute to the amazing leaders at Bushey Meads School who, since lockdown began in March 2020, have devoted themselves to caring for the children of Bushey Meads School as best they can – always putting the children of the school first and balancing the need to bring some hope and normality to the established routines of our wonderful school, even in a pandemic.
They are the ones who know the school best, they see how the school works, they understand what routines need to be retained and how best to balance the educational agenda and do it all as safely as possible. Over £150 000 has had to be spent on extending the playground, creating Year Group Zones, purchasing PPE, cleansing products and equipment, refurbishing old toilets, putting in new sinks and making the school as Covid-19 secure as possible, not including the real cost of leadership time devoted to the complex planning and preparation involved.
The vast majority of parents as always have been incredibly supportive of all the supreme efforts made and a huge thank you goes to them and our hard-working Governors and Trustees for their support – so important at times like this. Those messages of encouragement and praise that have come into the school over the last 6 weeks have also meant so much. Here are just two recent examples we received last week:
Unfortunately, a very small minority of parents seem to have done their utmost to disrupt and distract us from our efforts to run a safe school. One parent in particular has been literally bombarding leaders at the school with emails (at times on a daily basis and often at weekends), the latest email being over 1730 words long.
Parents like this have deliberately ignored our appeals to carefully read the detailed communications that have been sent out on a weekly basis through the Executive Principal’s Blog, which include the September School Reopening Plan and the regularly updated FAQs and have not heeded the reasonable requests to avoid distracting us from our core business of teaching and learning and keeping children safe.
I have also been made aware of a recent ‘questionnaire’ that has been circulated amongst a limited number of parents, until it was subsequently removed due to the growing number of negative comments against it being circulated. Fundamentally it was not a secure questionnaire; the questions were biased and inevitably the data will be of no real use. The staff and students at the school on a daily basis will be the ones to provide meaningful data and feedback about the measures we are taking and I am delighted to hear that our newly appointed SCCs or Student Covid-19 Champions will be canvassing their important opinions in due course.
One parent’s reaction to the questionnaire spoke for many:
As a school we will appropriately listen to the experts and indeed have welcomed them to partner with us as we make our school as safe as possible. No less than three visits to the school have been arranged in recent weeks. These experts include HCC’s Director of Public Health Jim McManus who thoroughly endorsed our work: Letter from Jim McManus. In addition, Senior Infection Prevention Control Nurses including Geraldine Bruce and Senior Health and Safety Representatives James Ottery who visited our school last week declared it entirely safe.
As a school we have now introduced a One-Way system which, once embedded, will need to be carefully reviewed. Some students do not consider it to have made the school necessarily safer but by implementing it (on the advice of the IPC Nurses) it shows we are a school willing to listen carefully to and act upon advice.
At Bushey Meads we choose hope and look forward to better days but, in the meantime, we work hard to provide as good an education as we can in these difficult times. “Once you choose hope, anything’s possible” is a quote attributed to Christopher Reeve (better known as Superman) who at the age of 43 became quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition, a life changing event that to most would have resulted in despair and frustration. In this most challenging of times he still brought hope to those around him and focussed on doing good. It gives us immense inspiration to keep doing the same.
Thank you once again to all the parents and carers who have been so encouraging and have demonstrated their obvious support in so many different ways, including through the delivery of a large box of cupcakes to the school reception. Your kindness spoke so loudly!
I wish you all a very happy and safe half term holiday and once again want to thank all the wonderful staff and students of Bushey Meads School. Don’t forget as always to click on the usual link to read our latest BMS News.