Head Teacher’s Blog 5th February 2021
Next week will mark the 16th anniversary of the death of Sr Dorothy Stang, a sister of Notre Dame. Sister Dorothy served as a missionary in Brazil with the families of landless peasants for 40 years. Because of her work for justice and preservation of the Amazon Forest, she was martyred for her faith on February 12, 2005, in Anapu, Para, a section of the Amazon.
While the news continues to be dominated by Covid and its affects, the environment remains a topic of great concern and I know that many of our students are very active in ensuring that they are educated and acting to make a positive difference. I pray that Sr Dorothy Stang’s legacy serves as a particular inspiration for our school community. In that hope, I share today a few quotes attributed to her and a prayer from a service held to commemorate her life.
Did we make our lives so comfortable and withdrawn from reality that we cannot see the social sins that our silence is supporting?
Together we can make a difference bringing peace, joy, caring, love to our world that is losing sight of our guiding star – the goodness of the real God.
If we keep working, helping our people to grow through education, they will have the ability to speak up, organize, and create within themselves a spirit guided by THE SPIRIT and become a new people. I might not see this day, but with the help of all of you, our people will grow in their understanding and caring for others.
Sr Dorothy Stang
Grant that we may grow in our respect and care for all creation.
Bless all of your creations as a sign of Your wondrous love.
Inspire us to end the suffering of those made poor.
Soften our hearts. Teach us to take personal steps to change the ways we affect your creation.
Empower us to use our technological inventiveness to heal creation and to sustain nature.
Over the last week, I have been meeting with Heads of Department and also catching up with teachers who have been in school. A continued theme in what I have heard has been how impressed teachers are with the continued level of engagement and quality of work that they are seeing from students. It was impressive at the start of lockdown, but in fact it has not only been sustained, but has increased as students have got into a routine and overcome individual challenges.
I and my colleagues don’t underestimate how hard it is to stay motivated and we understand the different daily hurdles that individual students face to stay connected with each other and with their learning. We are so impressed by how incredibly well they are doing.
This is reflected in the weekly data we keep an eye on, showing attendance at Teams form time and lessons, login to Show My Homework and also information logged by teachers of positive engagement and also concerns about a lack of engagement with work. The data paints a powerful picture that echoes the comments of individual teachers.
While there is no doubt that we all look forward to a return to being together physically, we can be confident that the resilience being shown by students will stand them in good stead.
We understand that on Feb 22nd we will get some further feedback from the Department for Education and from Ofqual about the plans for exams and grading in the summer. As soon as we have had time to digest any guidance, we will share with students and families our understanding of what it will mean for them and how we work in the coming months. For now, keep up the good work in following your courses.
In the coming weeks, our Y8 students will be thinking about their option choices for the courses they will study through to GCSE. Teachers are adapting resources to help students to learn about and reflect on the choices that they have, along with their parents. I would always reassure parents and students that we have designed the curriculum so that you can’t make a bad choice as all available combinations will keep a lot of doors open and will provide a breadth of education. It is about which ‘right’ choice students feel most committed to.
Students in Y11 and in Y6 will also be hearing in the next few weeks about offers of places for secondary school and post 16 study next year. Once those offers are made, we will begin the work of supporting transition for those students who will be joining us or staying on with us into 6th form. For all the changes we’ve seen to the world over the last 12 months I find it helpful that many things continue, even if they look a bit different.
I ask everyone to keep in their prayers all those young people who are approaching one of those milestones in life. We pray that it will be positive and exciting and, wherever there is disappointment or anxiety, that the young people will have the support to move through that time and become stronger for it.
Mr S Davies