WEEK 16 - Friday 14 January 2022
"Your flag flyin' over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone.
Who we are, what we'll do and what we won't"
Bruce Springsteen, Long Walk Home
It seems I am not alone in my admiration for Bruce Springsteen. Last week’s blog prompted a few parents to contact me to let me know that they were fans too! Some passed the message on via their children which typically went something like this;
Student: “My mum told me to tell you that she loves Bruce Springsteen too.”
Me: “Oh really, that’s great to hear. Tell her I’m pleased about that.”
Student: “I will. I don’t know what all the fuss is about though, I think he’s rubbish.”
Sadly, my own children feel the same way and it is going to take a lot more Bruce education before they see the light!
Anyway, one of my favourite Springsteen lyrics is the one at the top of this blog. It comes from a song he wrote in the early 2000s when the USA was in the throes of political turmoil under President Bush. Springsteen sings about his country moving in a direction that he disagrees with and observes that returning to traditional American values will be a ‘Long Walk Home’. I love the line about values - “who we are, what we’ll do and what we won’t”.
On 20 May 2020, everyone at Hessle High School was preparing to welcome back more of our students to school following the first lockdown. It was also, coincidentally, national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’. Maybe that’s why those in Number 10 decided to throw a party on the same day?
Or maybe not.
Anyway, on 20 May, I wrote to parents to let you know our plans to welcome the children of key workers as well as some in other year groups. This is what I wrote;
“We are doing our best to welcome children back as soon after half term as possible. But, let me give you an indication of the type of logistics involved in doing so. Across both schools, we are preparing for eight different cohorts of learners to return; Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 6, Year 10, Year 12 and the key worker children at primary and secondary phase. That is approximately 550 children, pupils and students. Each cohort requires its own plan in terms of safety, logistics, behaviour, staffing and curriculum. Every cohort will be split into 'bubbles', no greater in number than 15 and each of those require a plan for ensuring safe arrival and departure from the school site so that parents, carers and local residents can also stay safe. Some cohorts will require public transport and we need to consider catering. We are supported by an extremely dedicated body of staff but some of them fall into the category of clinically vulnerable or live with people who are; we need to consider their needs. We are doing that gladly, because we want to welcome back our learners. But it takes time and we have to get it right because you are entrusting your children into our care.”
As I read my words back, I can remember the frustration I felt about the lack of clear guidance coming from the Government but also the sense of pride in my team for the incredible work we were doing under unprecedented conditions whilst some in the media spoke about ‘teachers being off work!’. Nothing could have been further from the truth. And, after finishing their work, my staff went home (or stayed at home!), some of them alone. They followed the Government’s guidance. They did what was right.
When the pandemic is finally over, I know that everyone at Hessle will be able to look back on what we did and be proud. Because our values are set in stone, we know who we are, what we will do, and what we won’t.
Have a lovely weekend and stay safe.