From the Head Master

The inescapable impression emerging from the public health advice is that we are settling in for a long haul with reference to the current restrictions. It would appear that the transmissibility of the Delta variant and the current level of vaccination in the community will require us to continue in the attempts to suppress the virus through various measures that restrict interactions between people. The implication is that, although the nominal term of the current Level 4 restrictions is due to expire next week, most commentators expect remote learning to continue beyond that point.

I have remarked previously about the relative smoothness of our transition into remote learning this term, but this is not to suggest that it has been painless or without significant effort and challenge. This is the case for students, for families, and also for teachers. When facing these challenges, we do well to remind ourselves of the difficulties that are also being faced by the other people in the situation.

It seems to me that the 2020 lockdown experience commenced in a more frenetic way and that it was characterised by more anxiety, more adrenalin, and more novelty. This time, it is more about monotony and low-level lethargy. Day rolls into day with little to distinguish it from last week or next week. In this context, attempts to jolly things along or to attempt to pep people up with little motivational gems are less likely to be either well-received or effective. Rather, the task is to keep on keeping on. There is lots of wisdom conveyed to us as to the various ways to do this well: exercise, eating well, maintaining routine, taking on meaningful projects, disciplined sleep patterns, and the like. However, as always, the value of this wisdom does not lie in knowing it, but acting on it.

With a longer stint of restrictions potentially in front of us, the School leaders are giving consideration to the various issues for the life of the School. With the uncertainty around the duration of the restrictions, this entails making provisional plans, with a number of contingencies that may need to be put in place. Rather than present all the possibilities to the School community at every point, decisions will be made known as and when the path becomes clear.

During the course of today, all School families will have received correspondence from the Chairman of the School Council and me regarding financial assistance to families. I encourage families to ensure that they have read that correspondence.

The families of boys in the Middle and Senior Schools will have also received correspondence from the Deputy Head Master – Summer Hill and the Academic Dean regarding the assessment programme in Term 3 for students in Years 7-11.

We continue to await further guidance from the various authorities as to the path forward for Year 12 students, both with reference to the completion of their final credential and also the other aspects of their final term at School. As and when we are able to give some clarity to our senior students, we will do so. In the meantime, continuing to prepare for the trial examinations, major works, performances, and the final examinations, should continue to be their priority.

In reflecting on this article, I can’t help but note how sombre it is. I trust that it has not brought you down, or ruined your mood; that is certainly not the intent. Rather, I think we do well to consider the challenges before us with clear eyes, recognise the frustrations, and resolve to bring our best selves to the circumstances that face us today. As we do it, our children will learn to do it also.

Detur Gloria Soli Deo.

Tim Bowden | Head Master


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