Head’s Blog: We’re all in it together

Elmhurst School for Boys

13th November 2020 | Headmaster's Blog

We find ourselves in lockdown for the second time this year!

We received praise and support from the Elmhurst community for the way we provided a continuity of education throughout the first lockdown, by delivering lessons through the Google Classrooms. Moving to online learning had its challenges but we worked hard to make sure that the boys had the opportunity to engage in their learning. The Bellevue Central Team supported us every step of the way and as a consequence we did not see the loss of progress highlighted in the media, as a result of children being away from school, for months on end. Indeed, some of our boys achieved higher than expected progress!

This time, it is different! The boys are all in school. The opportunity for boys to learn is greater. One of the boys in Year 5 told me, ‘It is better to be in school for our learning because we have opportunities to work with learning partners or in groups. We can ask the teacher for help and guidance more easily than we could when we were learning from home.” This represents a clear understanding that the opportunities to progress in their learning are greater if the boys are at school. 

Another Year 5 boy said, ‘I like being at school because I can see my friends and play with them at break times.’ One aspect of the previous lockdown that seriously concerned the teachers and parents, was the lack of social interaction. So much so that we decided to facilitate opportunities, in Form Time Periods for example, for the boys to simply talk to each other through the Google Hangouts. However, being at school has meant that these aspects of their lives have definitely improved the wellbeing of each and every boy and it has been wonderful to see the joy on the boys’ faces in the playground when playing Football or Cricket with their friends as well as around school. 

That brings me nicely onto those areas of the curriculum which were so difficult to deliver when learning online. Joe Wicks did a great job of getting children active through the lockdown but nothing can beat a Games afternoon! The House Football and House Cross Country these last few weeks, saw the element of competition bring out the healthy rivalry between teams and individuals. The elation of a win and the commiseration of a loss reflect real life events and build the resilience and character required to excel in the 21st century. The music lessons have provided opportunities to prepare for the Christmas celebrations and Year 5’s poetry performances. Although we saw professional choirs and orchestras come together through amazing zoom videos, the boys really missed the lessons which brought them together to create music.

We always talk about the Elmhurst community and throughout this extraordinary year I believe we are closer than ever. Being back at school just seems like the best place to be, despite the ‘bubbles’, one way systems and staggered breaks. I am sure you are all with me when we reflect on how difficult a year 2020 has been but we must remember our ‘Community’ and recognise that… we are all in it together!     AJ Padfield

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