As we come to the end of our first week of the spring term 2021, I could not have envisaged how very different it was going to look, even a few days ago. A great deal of change has taken place in the past week, requiring many adaptations, but we are now settled into our new routines.
Testing has been successfully completed on those staff, boarders and senior children who are on site and will continue on a weekly basis. Materials have been collected by Junior and Senior parents via a drive through system. Remote learning has started across all phases of the school, (apart from the keyworker provision that we are offering from 3-18) and planning has commenced for the teacher-lead assessments that will replace GCSE and A level. We are running a significant onsite and offsite operation simultaneously but are doing well and juggling the demands of the latest governmental requirements.
A new year has brought many new joiners to the school, across every age group, and a number of new staff. Miss Alicia Mileham is our new boarding house assistant, Mrs Bocock is joining our nursing team and Mrs Hensman will be supporting the art department as their technician. We wish all our new joiners a very happy and successful term. We are also saying goodbye to some staff; Miss Williams will be taking early retirement from Talbot Heath. I am sure you will join me in thanking her for her dedication to the school for more than twenty years and wish her a long and happy retirement.
I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching my classes through zoom this week, getting stuck into the GCSE German modules and discussing the latest developments in the US with my Upper 3 Global Citizenship classes. If I thought my week had been topsy-turvy, I cannot imagine how those preparing the transition to the new US governmental team must be feeling. Strange times indeed.
I am extremely fortunate to work with young people whose energy, creativity and humour in the face of adversity shines through. In assemblies, I am greeted with smiles and waves from every quarter, as we convene regularly as a school community. Similarly, my staff, spread out across the local area, continue to work with great commitment and enthusiasm, delivering lessons that engage and inform. The fact that so many of our school community are already on site (coming into the many categories that the government has allowed to attend) and the fact that our testing systems are up and running, gives me hope that schools will be the first to reopen post lockdown- just as they were the last to close.
We start remotely, as the snowdrops poke through the frosty ground but I hope that we shall be back as a community, once the daffodils start to bloom.
Wishing you a very good week