We haven’t quite made it to the summer holidays. Not quite yet. There’s still end of term and end of year business to attend to. There’ll be goodbyes and see-you-next-years. There’ll be whatever rituals your school follows each year to get set for both a break and then a fresh start for each new class. There’ll be thank you words and thank you cards, maybe some chocolate, maybe some vino, a comedy soap of some kind. But we’re not quite there yet. Even the weather, as we write this, seems to be saying, yes, not quite summer, not quite yet. But doesn’t it feel like it should be?
What a year! Honestly. Even this morning, we can see friends and colleagues asking on twitter whether they have another two weeks’ fuel in the tank. It’s hardly surprising – this has been a year like no other, following an end-of-year like no other. How long ago does last July seem? We could try to conjure up some kind of montage of the most extraordinary, or challenging, or outlandish parts. The first school day of January for example. That’s one never to be repeated. Throughout, though, we’ve gained new and unexpected insight into the incredible determination and ingenuity of our primary friends and colleagues. Across our work, we’ve been acutely aware of the immense skill, adaptability, commitment and care of our colleagues in school. We’ve collectively marvelled at your professionalism, your tenacity, and your humour, even at the starkest of times.
This is our last scheduled blog of the school year. We may well blog as and when it strikes us as appropriate during the holidays – but not too soon, not too early. In fact, we will certainly blog as we have promised to: we will offer up a set of collective insights into the recently released reading framework (and perhaps some further commentary on the unfolding process of phonics programme validation). But for now that can wait. We will do as much of that processing as possible for you so that you can get set to rest, or enjoy family time - not always exactly restful - or have adventures of whatever kind takes your fancy. Everyone needs a break. So we thought that this almost-closing blog, for now, should quite simply say thank you for all that you have done in the face of so much unique challenge. You do not need any more policy of any kind at this very moment.
You may have to take it on trust, but our respect for our teaching and leading colleagues is routinely and easily expressed whenever we meet, but never more so than across this past year. We talk about the energy and insights that you bring to bear as we work together in class, or on our projects, in working with us to develop teaching and learning, on training events and in sharing great practice at our conferences. And yes, we have despaired at some of those more improbable national decisions that have placed you in almost impossible positions. Time and time again, we have seen the best of what it is to be human in our teaching friends and colleagues – a moral purpose, a shared integrity, a serious body-and-mind intent to improve the lives of others. You are so deeply appreciated whatever certain loud voices might sometimes lead you to think.
A certain recent sporting event has given many of us a much-needed shot of optimism and of hope, and a sense of new ways of setting about business. This sense of looking and moving forward springs from a team that, like you, has shown a real and sustained commitment to improving the lives of young people, particularly those that need it most. A team of action, with no time for hate. And in the heady rushes and held-breath moments of the tournament, we’ve seen the power of role models and heroes. Rightly they have been celebrated on a grand scale. But we’ve been lucky enough to see role models and heroes across the year, as we have across many years. And so this blog is here to do a couple of very simple things:
To offer our serious and heartfelt thanks for all that you have done this year.
To wish you a truly restful, safe, and happy break.
It’s almost here. Take care. Stay well. Enjoy every moment.