Our world has changed in the last week, we began the week worried about potential school closures, the potential of covering a couple of staff and reeling from the cancelation of the ski trip. There was also the small matter of a headship interview.
These things were just the start of what has been an unbelievable week of the like that no teacher in education has ever seen before.
Fortunately the interviews were a successful process and I am sure that I echo Miss Bradleys thoughts that we are proud to be custodians of our amazing school, the qualities of our Hastings Family have shone through adversity this week particularly as I have succumbed to a high temperature and have gone into a household isolation. This has made the week so difficult, no euphoria in being made a permanent Co-Headteacher (not even a pint to celebrate – just a cream egg!) just an overwhelming feeling of guilt that I am not in school to support staff and ultimately support all of our amazing students. Each day I have sat around 5pm to find out the next steps in combatting COVID-19 and hope that parents realise we only have the same information as them, from watching the press conferences and then trying to work out the best path. Sat at home it has felt at times pretty helpless.
On Wednesday we finally got the announcement that we had been dreading but expecting, schools were in effect to completely close. Teachers do the job we do as we want to be at work, to guide young people and to help them learn, to be told that we would not have this opportunity in person for a significant amount of time is a body blow.
Then came the bit no-one expected the cancellation of GCSE exams.
I am heartbroken, heartbroken for our staff with the huge amount of their lives they have invested in each and every year 11 pupil at the school, heartbroken for our parents who over the last five years have had to go through the emotional rollercoaster of dealing with a teenager leading up to the end point of exams but ultimately heartbroken for our amazing year 11 students over the last 5 years they have consistently amazed us. Yesterday they were upset, upset that they couldn’t prove themselves, upset that they couldn’t sit their exams, upset that they couldn’t make us proud with their results, upset that they couldn’t achieve those school record results for which they have been predicted to achieve for so many years. As time goes on that upset will fade and I hope it turns to both pride and determination. Pride in everything they achieved during their time with us, pride in the way they handled adversity, pride that they were and will always be part of our Hastings Family followed by determination not to let the current awful situation impact on their future and a determination to come and tell us in the future how successful they have become.
As a yeargroup we will make sure that they have the chance to come back together, be that at Prom, or if that is delayed at some other point, we will all need that closure and chance to celebrate their time with us.
Whatever happens over the next few months we will come out the other side, society will have changed, education will have changed but be assured we will be ready for the changes and will face the challenges head on and when the time is right we will be ready with open arms to open up those gates and help all of our students become anything they want to be,
Take care of yourselves in this time of uncertainty