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A few reflections...

    02 July 2021

A few reflections...

As we know, the last eighteen months or so has been a hugely challenging period for everyone.  For students in school, the emphasis and focus has been on being resourceful, resilient and positive in mindset, always looking for solutions and adapting readily to change.  Recently we have needed to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing environment and respond to the changes caused by the pandemic.  The last 24 hours has presented its own particular challenges with a positive test result and the associated repercussions, so thankfully we have made it to the end of the year! 

When you look around at other schools, or read the media on a daily basis, you constantly hear stories of missed sports days, no end of year celebrations, lack of remote learning etc. and in fact we hear far too much about ‘catch-up’.  This week, the news has suggested 1 in 20 school children are not in school because of Covid-19 infection. 

What strikes me when I reflect on the current situation are the missed opportunities both within the formal curriculum and also the wider co-curricular experiences.  Already we are witnessing Covid-19 being framed as a reason for not engaging in providing opportunities for young people and celebrating their success.  My worry for so many is the tail of this pandemic which may stretch on and affect children for the foreseeable future. 

Fortunately, at Sherfield we have taken the decision to get on with school life and recognise the difference we can make to all in our care.  Please be assured, we have not been irresponsible and I am not suggesting a ‘gung ho’ laissez-faire approach to tackling Covid-19.  Ensuring we are safe, sensible and consider our provision in a measured way is absolutely essential.  We have spent hours interrogating government guidance and developing appropriate risk assessments.   However, we must not lose sight of the social and emotional impact of the last 18 months which has so often been ignored.  ‘Catch up’ fever in central government, with very little mention of mental health and wellbeing. 

During the last 6 weeks, we have held events including Pirates vs Mermaids, Senior Prep Carnival Production, Sports Day, Battle of the Bands, Summer Art Exhibition, Summer Ball, Seniors Prom and today our Annual Speech Day.  We could easily have thrown the towel in and cancelled everything.  We could have easily used the Covid-19 excuse and stopped it all.  Even following one positive result yesterday, we have no regrets on how we have responded to the challenges we have faced.

So, the reason for carrying on with all these events relates to ‘Why’ we do what we do.  It’s the spirit that underpins the success of Sherfield and relates to the ethos and community we believe in.  We are often fine with verbalising what we do and how we do it, however the why is often more difficult to explain and is actually the most important aspect. 

Thinking it through in more detail, the Why explains a great deal at Sherfield, so let me add some context.  Why did Sherfield School respond so readily to remote learning as soon as the first lockdown happened?  Why do our staff work so conscientiously to support our students and so often go above and beyond what would normally be required?  Why have we been so eager and creative finding solutions to ensure we provide the opportunities and experiences for students as soon as we have been able to? 
For example, on Tuesday this week, we held our 2021 Year 11 and 13 Leavers Prom event which was a fabulous event.  We invited Year 11 and 13 from last year as well because they missed out.  We could easily have placed Covid-19 in the way and cancelled the event.  The same is true for the Summer Ball, the Carnival, Sports Day and so on. 

The reason Why?  - because we believe in our students and want the very best for each and every one of them.  We want them to be inspired, to be inquisitive, curious and exceptionally well rounded.  We want them to dream big and to ignite a passion inside them, to light a fire! This is their opportunity to shine, to develop their own personalities and shape their future.  We love doing what we do and we have a drive and passion which pushes us forward and retains our students as the single central focus.
When we understand why we are here and the integral purpose of Sherfield, then we understand the context and why Sherfield is such a special place.  As we move into the future and encounter a next set of challenges, please rest assured that we will meet these with energy, enthusiasm and expertise always placing our students at the heart of all our decision making.  They are the reason we do what we do, they are the ‘WHY!’.

Thank you so much for all of your support this year and on behalf of all of the staff at Sherfield School, I wish you well for the summer break and look forward to seeing you all in September.

Kind regards

Mr Nick Brain

Executive Head

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