Coronavirus Update - 16:00 - 05/07/20

Dear Parents,

The weeks seem to be flying by and June seems like a distant memory already. There is not much of the term left before the summer holidays but so much to do before we get there! I hope that your week has been a positive one? On the plus side, the removal of more lockdown measures yesterday I am sure was a relief to many of you (especially if you were able to remove your lockdown locks!); things are beginning to get back to normal with a twist of a difference!

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." Gandalf, Lord of the Rings

Can I just remind you for the remainder of this term, the start of next and maybe in the future should we face a lockdown situation again that it is important to recognise that every school is unique and the decisions made on how we approach a particular scenario will be based on our very own school context and challenges therein. We would therefore ask you to be mindful of this when tempted to compare the decisions different schools may make. What works for one school, and indeed family, may not be something that could work for another and it won't be because at Wildern there is a lack of will or thought but it will be because we will be working to ensure that all our students get the best possible learning experience. Your feedback reflects this ranging from overwhelming positivity to suggestions for improvement.

There will, of course, be further challenges ahead and more hurdles to overcome before our school can once again adopt an approach to teaching, learning and pastoral support which is more familiar to us all. As you will be aware, Thursday last week saw the announcement about how schools return in September. There is lots of information here for us as a school to read through, digest and then create a plan. Once we have covered every base we will be in touch with the outline; our timescale for this to be sent to you is during the week beginning 13th July. As you know we will want to ensure that the plan is robust in terms of safety measures, workable for all our students and staff and has well-being and learning at its heart. Please be patient with us as we put this together.

"Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised." Aragorn, Lord of the Rings

Last week saw our virtual awards evening which was a huge success in terms of the electronic prowess from our technical team. Well done to all the students who won awards! However, there can only be a small number of students nominated and we are very aware of the many many students that do great things everyday. Over the course of this term we have attempted to keep the positive praise flowing through e-refs, feedback, electronic postcards home to all students who have shown motivation, determination and great learning, all of which will continue until the end of term and will culminate in our celebration assemblies in the last days of term.

Alongside this is our week, starting tomorrow, of house competitions to see which house takes the championship this year....will Alba, who are in front at this stage, maintain their crown for a third time or will another House leap-frog to the lead....it is all to play for and will be great to focus on having fun at the same time as adding points for each house - all entries add points!!

Also don't forget our charity sack race is this week too, where we all try to jump our way to John O'Groats and raise some money for Southampton Hospital.

"But in the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass."Sam Gamgee, Lord of the Rings

And it is passing...lockdown has now almost gone. We can now go to the hairdressers, grab a coffee or even plan a holiday abroad. We just need to be thoughtful and sensible still about the potential risks and still follow the social distancing guidance of one 1metre+.
If I can ask for you to just remind your child(ren) of this when they are out and about around Hedge End. Some people within the Community are still feeling vulnerable and worried about going out and when they see groups of students standing together, it causes anxiety and worry. This would be appreciated by everyone.

In the news, it is suggesting that people who have been independent before lockdown are now finding it more difficult to go out. This can also be true for our students who have got into a routine of talking to their family and friends remotely. We are seeing this from our Year 10 students too; they are very quiet in the face to face sessions to begin with, however by the time they leave they are more chatty and animated. I, myself, am finding that I am using excuses to not go into shops as I 'cannot be bothered' to queue, make sense of what the shop wants me to do (as every shop is different) and feel quite overwhelmed by the thought of what restrictions look like. This may be you too...it seems it is quite a natural feeling to have and we need to push through and almost 'force' ourselves through these barriers in order to become independent and integrate with this 'new' normal.

If you or your children are experiencing these anxieties, please contact us so that we can support you moving into these new freedoms. As I have said all along, we are here to support you and will continue to do so, even if from afar. Don't forget our Well-being Wednesday information leaflet and the up-to-date information that is in the Members area of our website; both are also places to go to for guidance and help.

“The board is set, the pieces are moving. We come to it at last, the great battle of our time.”Gandalf, Lord of the Rings

And finally...Lord of the Rings, a favourite film. There are so many parallels with the situation we have found ourselves in over the last few months; the peaceful shire, our 'normal' pre-March 23rd life turned upside down with the power of the ring/COVID-19 and how with the power of friendship, resilience and love overcome in the end. We are moving very much into a period of remission and can look forward (hopefully) to a future that is COVID-19 free. For us as a school, the guidance for September provides us with the board for the future and what we will now do is add the detail to this for our further opening. As J.R.R Tolkien says "Courage is found in unlikely places" and we will all need to be courageous in these next few weeks; to learn to live with the subtleties of the 'new' normal, to begin the process of re-building our work and private lives whilst being mindful that we could be back to square one with lockdown country-wide or within a region as Leicester.

I hope that this week is a positive one for you all.
As always, take care

Ceri Oakley
Headteacher

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