The Head's Study
“ During my first assembly this term I emphasised how each and every girl and member of staff had been on their own unique journey during lockdown.”
Whilst we are all managing the same ambiguous threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, our experiences are as diverse as we are. I shared the story of a student at another GDST school who broke down in tears on the first day back as a result of seeing girls hugging each other; her grandmother had just died following close contact with a Covid-19 carrier.
We have learnt that, by sharing experiences, between girls, between staff, between schools, we are better prepared and have a better understanding of where our future focus should lie. Our pandemic team has learnt to respond with agility to new scenarios but not to over plan for contingencies that may quickly become irrelevant. We have focused on transparent and honest communication. We have adopted a solution-based approach and, most importantly, we have been constantly adapting and updating procedures to improve them. So this week we have tightened the lunch provision in the Senior School to ensure more girls could have a hot meal every day and we have insisted on Sixth Form pupils sitting 2 metres apart in lessons now that we understand that an entire bubble does not need to ‘burst’ and be sent home when one person tests positive.
Significant lessons have also been learnt about our girls. We place huge value on resilience and independent learning skills both of which feature in our Royal High Learning Habits as courageous and critical thinking respectively. In lockdown, girls impressed us continually with the depth of these skills. Their learning habits, when tested, are far more embedded and effective than we ever realised.
The same has been seen at the Prep School where girls have become much more independent, having to sort their kit, their arrival into class and return home at the end of the day, on their own. They have more than managed; they have blossomed realising how capable they are now that Covid precautions make this a necessity.
Just as schools are now thinking strategically about lockdown lessons that we do not want to lose, I would ask our girls to do the same. This includes remembering how we all suddenly valued the face to face contact taken for granted pre lockdown. As this final burst of summer continues, I would encourage girls to get outside, put away their screens that no longer need to be their portals to friendship, and revel in each other’s company. As is often the case, the simple things in life are often what are best for our physical and mental well-being.
Mrs Kate Reynolds