It has been a huge relief to return to school this September. We have been surrounded by uncertainty and reviewing our plans for return on a regular basis. It was therefore so wonderful to see lots of familiar, bright and shining faces appear through our doors.
Our children have coped amazingly well with the transition back to school – for so many of them it has been too long. We feel proud of their resilience, determination and positive thinking. Of course, things are not what they were. We have very different routines and schedules for the day. We are not able to mix as we would normally do and the usually heartbeat of the school has a very different rhythm.
It has been remarkable to see our new children in both nursery and reception settle into school so quickly. They have coped so well, with very little transitional support, and it is clear that their characters are already so strong and resilient. We are proud of them all.
T ogether, as a school we have explored a wonderful picture book – ‘Here We Are’ by Oliver Jeffers. The book has been a great springboard for some wonderful learning in English, art, drama, philosophy and RE and has enabled children to share their thoughts and concerns about the current situation in a safe space.
Collective Worship takes place in individual classes and together we have been exploring the Christian Value of ‘perseverance.’ We have been exploring some inspirational stories of people who have overcome adversity to achieve their goals and use these to set our own dreams and ambitions. This provides us with lots of opportunities to support our children through their thoughts and feelings at this time.
As the days pass, we are finding ways to adapt what we normally do to our current situation so we will be tiptoeing steadily through the autumn term. Our next steps will be to start our new history topics, these are always enjoyed by the children and I am sure this year will be no exception. I am sure the children will learn lots and produce some great work.
If you have seen our children on their journeys to school, you may have spotted some additions to our uniform. We have a fabulous new tracksuit which children may wear on PE days and they look so smart. They are certainly ready for action which is very symbolic of us all right now!
We hope that you are all continuing to keep well and taking good care of each other.
Writing this in the middle of the school holidays is certainly very different to the norm. A real mixture of recovering from the year just gone, higher than usual anxiety about the year to come and somewhere in between making the most of our present moments. Lots of cycling, walking, relaxing and sleeping has certainly helped with that!
It was incredibly sad not to be able to do all our usual end-of-year events particularly with our Year 6 children but delighted that they all managed to attend school safely in the last few weeks, see each other again and spend some time together. Our parents were able to come down to school as we were sent the children out, on their very last day, to continue their next steps, we enjoyed an outdoor, distant presentation and waved goodbye to each child in turn through a colourful archway making full and extensive use of Lovely Hall Lane! We wish them every happiness and success in their future and hope to see them all very soon.
It was disappointing not to have all the children back in school for the last few weeks however prioritising health has been crucial in all decision-making and we did find a way of bringing as many children as possible back into the school building without compromising safety. We look forward to a full return very soon.
Lots of other school business has been conducted in very different ways too, remote meetings, teaching by video and technology, school reports delivered electronically, meeting new classes via Google Meet, remote staff training – it has all been happening but with a very different feel.
To add to the very mixed emotions of the year, we are approaching the time to say goodbye to Reverend Martin and Sue. They have both been a true blessing to the Parish of Salesbury and indeed to Salesbury School. Words cannot express the difference they have made to the ethos, values and rhythm of our school. Generous in their time, thought and commitment, our school has benefited from their investment enormously and to them, we send a heartfelt thank you!
Being a headteacher can be a lonely job particularly when the road does not run smoothly however Reverend Martin has been a huge support, comfort and guide and I know I will greatly miss this warm, humble, considered, wise, funny and often cheeky presence from our school. I wish to say a personal and most sincere thank you for this immensely invaluable support.
On behalf of Salesbury Church of England, I would like to thank you, Reverend Martin, for your devotion to all our pupils and staff, for your weekly Worship, your contributions to RE, School Trips, lunchtimes and the daily hubbub of school life. A special thanks must also go to Sue who has brought smiles, energy, fun and care to our children – she will be missed! We wish you both every happiness in the next phase of your life together, do enjoy your grandchildren, your new home, each other and of course, the football!
We now look forward to our next steps as a school, welcoming lots of new children and their families and seeing everyone together. For some time, it will run a little differently but I am sure we will continue to find new ways of learning and working together.