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23rd February 2021

Welcome back after the spring half term. We hope that all staff, children and parents had a chance to rest and recuperate after a 'remote' half term. We look forward to welcoming back all our children into schools on the 8th March and this is very welcome and encouraged by all. Clearly, we will continue to keep the safety of our children and staff central in our plans and the diligence of school efforts in recent months leave me in no doubt that we can meet the challenges that lie ahead.

As with educational changes, the year always seems to feel like it is turning in the springtime. The weather has been improving, is warmer, lighter and the prospect of sitting outside now becomes inviting.

Change is a strange phenomenon. It feels as though we are on the brink of change. Change in the weather, change in welcoming children back to school and hopefully, with increased vaccine roll out and testing, a change in our response to the global pandemic.

Change can be unsettling, however. It is here that learning, and education can assist us. Supporting the children in the classroom reminds us of the power of education for positive personal change and society improvements. Learning from historic events, mathematical puzzles or even philosophising about our own personal circumstances can assist us in dealing with change. It can also help us support others through change.

Springtime is a sign of hope for change. The dark days of winter have passed, and new life and new growth await. I have been inspired by our efforts as a trust in our remote education. In how we have pulled together as a trust, as schools, as year groups and departments to show resolve and resilience in maintaining our high standards and expectations of both ourselves and the children.

However, we are entering a period of change. A time that we can embrace and revel in. Not to forget the trials and victories of the last few months, but to build upon and consolidate our learning to continue to provide the best for our children. Someone once said that 'change is the only constant'.  Let us welcome this change and not fear it. Remember where we have come from and what we have achieved … and also hope for a better tomorrow; one which we will help our children make.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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