And so it’s time, at last, to get another blog out there. When I published my first one 10 months ago, I naively imagined I would have the time and headspace to make this a more regular occurrence. I managed three in my first term as CFOO then just as I was gearing up for another, Covid diverted my attention and I’m slowly now finding time again to think and concentrate on other things.
The SBL and SBM support in both the virtual and real world has been a constant throughout all the madness. Not just in times of crises such as the one we currently find ourselves in, but whenever we are seized with self doubt or overwhelmed with a problem that seems insurmountable, there is someone out there who will help. Honestly. We just have to remember not to be afraid to ask. Whether via an email, phone call, Tweet or private message, I can’t underline enough how much taking a deep breath and making the first move to help yourself will do exactly that....you will help your own well being by knowing you don’t have to do everything on your own. Neither is anyone expected to have the instant encyclopaedic knowledge you’re convinced you’ve missed out on.
Covid 19 has had a lot to answer for this year. It’s also given us some unique opportunities to pull together as a team. I’m sure I’m not alone in appreciating the skills and support of the colleagues around me and being thankful for that safety net. Making difficult decisions together has lessened the burdens and divided the difficulties. A problem shared and all that. It’s strengthened relationships and streamlined processes. Who’d have thought four months ago we’d be able to host a virtual CPD session for our Trust with over 200 attendees? I’ve had the opportunity to work extensively with members of our teaching staff and pastoral care that I might not have had during more “usual” times. Organising and packing care boxes, dealing with the Edenred system has put me back in touch with families at a level I’ve not had for a while. I’d missed it. It reminded me why we carry on doing what we do, emotionally drained and exhausted, we get up to fight another day.
The professional practice and care I’ve witnessed over the last few weeks at all schools has been admirable and inspirational. From site and premises staff going the extra mile with cleaning and distancing, office staff dealing with new returns and confused parents after conflicting government advice, support, pastoral and teaching staff following up on student and staff welfare, to SLT formalising all the processes and continuing to deliver remote learning. Schools are inspirational places to be. We are passionate about giving our young people the best start in life and supporting families facing difficulties. Being surrounded by like minded people in the same system keeps us afloat when the waters ahead are choppy and official advice is more like a fog bank ahead.
For the new SBMs or any new school staff reading this, stick with it. Extend your networks. It’s getting easier and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Wander through your school that’s bursting back into life and listen to the laughter, watch the smiles on the faces, take part in the assembly. Know that you are helping to provide a safe and reliable place to change the world of our young people.