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Take the applause as the final scene draws into view

12th July 2021

As we enter our last week of term I encourage all of us to reflect on what we have achieved, rather than collapse over the line in exhaustion.

We are all acutely aware that this academic year has been like no other, including last year. Even as the last few weeks of term have seen a rise in the isolations associated with Covid, we need to reflect on our triumphs this year. I do mean triumphs. Schools, like other areas of public service, have held us and our communities together over this academic year. We have provided meals, computers, an online learning revolution, socially distanced clubs, pupil events, and redesigned and implemented a national assessment system!  These events are all worthy of significant praise and sense of achievement – but perhaps greatest praise of all needs to be given for how we have gone about our work. We have not once deviated from our goal of placing children first.

Sometimes much can be achieved in the short term by turning away from our values or principles. This we have not done. We have delivered a year to be proud of and kept the children as our focus.  Colleagues have gone above and beyond more times than we care to note. Seeking to learn new skills and push ourselves once more – for the good of the children we serve.

Service is a confusing term. It has perceptions of class, or hierarchy or worth. Yet in our profession, in our role as public servants, we demonstrate a strength, energy and calling that has not be seen so clearly than in this last academic year.

 

Thank you.

As the last few days conclude. As we reach the end of term. Pause and feel the applause. You may see this in the small things, as opposed to the big. The simple card, the quiet smile of a child, the comment of a student who moves on. We need to remember, and acknowledge, these glimpses of appreciation. It is not a current trend amongst society to revel on appreciation. Indeed, I think school staff are particularly bashful in this regard. This year we need to holiday like champions. Look out for those glimpses of thanks. We often keep our colleagues and classes going, but perhaps miss those tale-tale signs that what we do matters. What we do makes a difference.

So as the final scene is played out, acknowledge the applause. It may not be shouted from the roof tops as your efforts deserve, but this year, you have been remarkable. Rest well and rest easy, you’ve done a great job in circumstances unforetold. Give yourself a break … a nice long one.

Jack Mayhew, Executive Headteacher  Athena Schools Trust

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