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Stand tall. This is what we do.

8th March 2021

Our children’s return to school is a long awaited and good thing. The mixture of emotions that may be prevalent amongst all in our communities makes this an interesting time for all. As a step towards a more recognisable version of normality (whatever that is) we are all encouraged by our return.

StandtallTesting systems, whether at home or at school, face masks, staggered starts and the return to overly managed school environments are all necessary parts of children returning to classrooms – and us all making steps towards the wider opening of our schools.                                                                                

One of the frustrations I have felt in recent days is the phrase often used by the media regarding the ‘re-opening of schools’. I know what they mean – but our schools have not been shut. I have seen first-hand the significant number of colleagues that have kept provision on site open for our vulnerable and key worker children. I have also noted the massive efforts colleagues have made to improve and develop our remote provision and virtual learning offers. These efforts have been inspiring and much of the learning and adaptability we have shown will continue to deliver fruit on the long path back to a more recognisable education.

As we take these necessary steps remember to stand tall. We have much to be proud about, but also need to take pride in our status in the classrooms, in the dinner queue, at reception, or sitting alongside a child requiring additional support. This is who we are. Much of our potential uncertainty over the last few months has been operating outside our usual frames of reference. Today marks a step towards restoring some of our ‘normality’. As this occurs over the next few days and weeks remember to be proud of who we are and what we do.

Whatever your role in our schools – stand tall. Be proud. You are making a difference to children’s lives.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust


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